Be prepared for the worst of winter

Drivers are being urged to prepare for road conditions
Drivers are being urged to prepare for road conditions

With winter starting to make its presence felt on the roads, the Institute of AdvancedMotoring has urged drivers to be prepared for the weather to do its worst.

The Institute’s Peter Rodger this week issued a list of top tips for safer winter motoring.

It’s important that you keep your windows clear of ice and frost.

Use a good quality windscreen washer fluid to keep them clean and keep the reservoir topped up.

As you will be using your dipped headlights more often, it’s important you make sure they are working properly.

The same applies for all other car lights, indicators and tyres too – make sure you check the tread depth regularly. If any of these need replacing, do so as soon as possible.

• Automatic headlamp systems do not always put dipped headlamps on in foggy weather conditions, so you may need to switch them from an auto to manual setting. Remember, you don’t need to wait until it’s completely dark – you may need to use them in reduced daylight conditions too.

• Where there are no street lights or you are driving on an empty stretch of road in seriously reduced visibility, switch on your full beam. However, you mustn’t use your full beam during the day, even in poor visibility, as you risk dazzling other road users.

• Look out for vulnerable road users in the dark including motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

• Take particular care when driving near schools in the late afternoon.

• Pedestrians are not easily spotted when they wear dark clothing.

• Keep your eyes peeled and avoid speeding when your vision is reduced.

• Keep an eye out for reflective road signs and motorway studs that help you drive in poor light.

• If you cannot see ahead, you must slow down to give yourself more time to react to a potential hazard.

Peter said: “It might sound obvious but you can’t drive the same way in the dark as you would in daylight – that’s what a lot of people do.

“Make allowances for your own abilities in darkness; your eyes take time to get used to the dark and be aware others might not be as careful as you, and might not be wearing reflective or bright clothing as they should do.

“Take on the responsibility of looking out for others, and your journey will give you a warm glow inside – even if it’s chilly outside.”

The IAM is the UK’s
 largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving and motorcycling.

The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 90,000 members.