AS Brits prepare for a deep freeze in January, drivers are advised to take extra caution on the road.
A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is blanketing much of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with temperatures possibly dropping to bone-chilling -12 in some places.
The Met Office has warned about “frost” on the road, sidewalks and bike paths as the mercury drops.
Black tape increases the risk slip out of control and accidents, which means drivers should do everything they can to stay safe.
Here, we’ve rounded up the top seven ways you can avoid accidents and weather delays while on the road this winter.
Always fully charge your phone
Car insurance provider AA has shared their essential list of must-have frigid journeys – if inclement weather travel is absolutely essential.
In the event of an incident, drivers are required to bring a fully charged cell phone to call for help.
This will speed up the time it takes for help to arrive so you can get moving again quickly.
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Check your air pressure and tread depth
You can improve your chances of reaching your destination safely and quickly with some simple pre-drive checks.
An important check is your tire pressure.
If the pressure is too low for your tires, traction can be reduced – which can be fatal in icy conditions.
Tires are another important factor for road conditions.
The legal minimum spike depth is 1.6mm, but experts recommend it should be at least 3mm to be as safe as possible.
De-icing your car
It is essential to remove frost and ice on the wing mirrors and windshield to help improve visibility.
But it’s important to use the right equipment.
Experts advise against using hot water to clean your windshield because a sudden change in temperature – from very cold to very hot – can cause the windshield to break.
Even warm or lukewarm water can cause glass to shrink and crack.
Furthermore, it is against the law to leave a moving car unattended on a public road.
You could easily turn on your car, leave the heater on full power, and go back inside as the ice slowly melts, but if caught by the police, you risk being fined.
And “portholing” – de-icing only a small area of the window so there’s enough room to look out – can land you a fine and three points on your driver’s license.
Increase your stopping distance
Always allow a larger stopping distance in icy conditions.
The distance required for a car to come to a complete stop more than doubles when the road is slippery.
Britons are urged to leave plenty of space between themselves and the car in front to avoid any accidents.
Sudden turns at high speeds on the road can cause skidding.
Many drivers will hit the brakes and steer into a skid when they start to lose control – but it can be a dangerous move for experienced drivers.
Instead, slowly take your foot off the gas pedal and go straight when your car hits full throttle.
Don’t go out unless it’s necessary
When the temperature drops, there is a simple way to avoid accidents: stay at home.
If the British limited their journeys only to necessary, the number of cars on icy roads would be greatly reduced.
Use familiar roads
If you need to go somewhere, don’t take an unfamiliar route.
Road signs may be covered with snow and phone reception may be limited.
Furthermore, Britons are advised not to take any shortcuts and to stay away from country roads as they may not be clear.
Winding country roads are often difficult even in warm weather – so motorists should stick to the main roads as much as possible.
Drive in high gear
Another way to reduce the risk of an accident is to drive in low gear.
The lower the gear, the slower the wheel turns, which means the driver won’t swerve into a dangerous slide.
RAC Breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “Winter is the most dangerous time of year for drivers.
“A good set of tires is essential to keep the best possible grip, but slowing down to suit the conditions is also important.
“Black ice is probably the most dangerous of all the conditions because drivers don’t realize they’re on it until it’s too late. Going on a slide is scary beyond belief.
“While it’s good to know that you should be on the slopes, it’s a lot harder to do that when you need to, especially if it’s never happened to you before.
“When driving on snow, you should slow down but try to be in the highest gear possible as this helps reduce wheel spin.”
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8158947/icy-roads-avoid-delays-safe/ Seven ways to stay safe and avoid delays on icy roads as snow hits parts of England