Road Safety

Winter Driving

Winter is well and truly here and along with the unpredictable weather comes the challenging driving conditions. One of the consequences of these conditions is an increased risk to people's safety on the roads.

All road users including vulnerable road users like children, the elderly, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are at risk of being involved in an incident during the winter months.



Why are darker evenings more dangerous for vulnerable road users?Why are darker evenings more dangerous for vulnerable road users?<div class="ExternalClassAFF25CBB3E0D4E39A5990D9BE23E70CC"><p>There are several reasons why there may be an increase in casualty rates in the darker winter evenings:</p><ul class="list list-bullet"><li>firstly, pedestrians, cyclists, other road users and road signs are simply harder to spot when it’s darker. Making sure you can be seen on the roads is crucial for your safety. This can be a real issue for children in school uniform, which unfortunately is often made up of dark colours. Older children travelling unaccompanied are particularly vulnerable, especially if their choice of coat is limited by school rules</li><li>drivers also tend be more tired first thing in the morning or after a day’s work and darkness also has an impact on our alertness, so concentration levels are lower at these times of day</li> <li>both children and adults tend to make social or leisure trips in the evenings, so in winter these trips are more likely to be made in the dark</li></ul><p>There are many things that all road users can do to help keep everyone safe on our roads. Check out <a rel="external" href="">Tales of the Road</a> for ideas on keeping children and young people safe.</p></div>
MotoristsMotorists<div class="ExternalClass47E9082302154B28854E5790668F335C"><ul class="list list-bullet"><li>take more care and time looking for cyclists and people waiting to cross the roads</li><li>don’t be distracted by mobile phones, loud music or other distractions</li><li>plan your journey and leave plenty of time to get to your destination</li> <li>watch out for fallen leaves. They can be extremely slippery and act like standing water or ice if you brake on them. They may also hide potholes or other hazards. Make sure you clear leaves from the gully below your windscreen so they don’t cause water to back up and get into your car’s electrics</li><li>be aware that cyclists will want to avoid leaves and other debris, so may need to pull out or cycle in the centre of the lane</li><li>for the 2 million people who cycle every day, close passes by cars are an almost daily occurrence. Close passes are really intimidating and account for around a third of all threatening incidents between drivers and cyclists. But there’s a simple way to stop this happening – give at least 1.5m when overtaking. <a rel="external" href="">View this YouTube video to find out more about how to safely pass cyclists and other vulnerable road users</a></li><li><a rel="external" href="">View Transport for London's 'Driver and Cyclist Safety Tips' video</a> for information on reminders on how to use the roads safely</li></ul></div>
Vehicle preparation Vehicle preparation <div class="ExternalClass48907F8396A54C4F9EDFAAC98D382E4B"><ul class="list list-bullet"><li>book your car in for a pre-winter check to make sure your tyres, brakes, wipers, heater and de-misters are in good working order</li><li>wiper blades should ideally be replaced every 2 years, and washer fluid needs to be topped up and treated with a good quality, purpose-made antifreeze additive</li> <li>check your battery is in good condition. It’s one of the main causes of breakdowns throughout the year, but is particularly likely during the colder months. Now is a good time to think about replacing it before the winter</li><li>keep your windscreen clean both inside and out, free from scratches, abrasions, chips and smears. The low morning or evening sun combined with a dirty windscreen can render it opaque, and even a few seconds of sun-blindness can cause an accident</li><li>always allow extra time to fully de-mist and de-ice all windows before you set off</li><li>check your vehicle out! <a rel="external" href="">View a ROSPA video on how to make sure your vehicle is road ready</a></li></ul></div>
Planning and preparationPlanning and preparation<div class="ExternalClass558395D6DCFA4DBAB8BCE17A7436DE29"><p>Planning a journey is even more important than usual during winter. Think these things through before leaving:</p><h3>What conditions can I expect?</h3><p>Check the Met Office for weather predictions and any warnings for your journey both to and from your destination.</p><p>Listen to radio broadcasts for additional local information.</p> <h3>is my journey completely necessary?</h3><p>On days where bad weather is predicted, only essential travel is advisable, especially if you’re travelling in rural areas.</p><h3>What is my route?</h3><p>Research your route well in advance of leaving. There may be unexpected delays or incidents that will affect your travel.</p><p>Google Maps and Michelin both provide comprehensive route planners, as do a number of smartphone apps.</p><h3>What do I need?</h3><p>You should always pack the following:</p><ul class="list list-bullet"><li>breakdown membership details – store the number in your phone or wallet</li><li>mobile phone and charger</li><li>high-visibility clothing</li><li>ice scraper and de-icer</li><li>spare clothes and blankets</li><li>cash</li><li>torch with extra batteries</li><li>food</li><li>as flask for a hot drink, plus bottled water</li><li>sunglasses to minimise glare from the snow</li></ul><p>For longer journeys or rural journeys, carry:</p><ul class="list list-bullet"><li>first aid kit</li><li>jump leads</li><li>phone charger</li><li>small shovel</li><li>any important medications</li><li>road atlas (very important in case GPS systems lose battery)</li></ul></div>
Pedestrians Pedestrians <div class="ExternalClassA3D33BBC11C548A39ACEB37F5C9E4C41"><ul class="list list-bullet"><li>wear bright/reflective clothing - Wearing bright or fluorescent colours will help on dull days, but it won’t when it gets dark</li><li>at night wear something reflective – this will allow other road users to see them up to 150 metres sooner than they would have done had they not been wearing the reflective item</li> <li>if school uniform rules don’t extend to outerwear, buy a brightly coloured coat with reflective panels. School bags are often available with high-visibility strips, and are easy to decorate with reflective covers, patches, clip-ons or lights. High-vis tabards are a cheap and flexible option that you can add to any outfit</li><li>making children more conspicuous is essential, as they’re smaller and less road-aware</li><li>however, being seen is just as important for teens and adults. Wearing something hi-vis may not be particularly cool, but it’s a simple thing to do to stay safe and sets a good example for the young people in your life</li><li>cross the road in well-lit places and at designated crossing</li><li>don’t use phones or hand held devices whilst crossing the road</li><li>take hoods down when crossing so that you can see and hear what’s going on around you</li></ul></div>
CyclistsCyclists<div class="ExternalClass6707A10E7B0443948EAC54DEE40FCE35"><ul class="list list-bullet"><li>wear Hi-Viz clothes</li><li>bike helmets and cycle clips are other areas that reflectors can be added to, and of course you should make sure that bikes have working front and rear lights, red rear reflectors and amber pedal reflectors</li><li>make sure your lights don’t dazzle drivers or other road users</li><li>if your lights are rechargeable, make sure you have enough charge for your journey, and consider keeping a spare set of lights or batteries just in case</li> <li>avoid using headphones whilst on your bike</li><li>look behind before you turn, overtake or stop</li><li>use arm signals before you turn right or left</li><li>obey traffic lights and road signs</li></ul></div>
Horse ridersHorse riders<div class="ExternalClass8A4E7350B9A54C4D938DCA134CD264F3"><ul class="list list-bullet"><li>horses are large powerful animals but they can easily panic and bolt if startled. The consequences to drivers, their car, the horse and its rider can be horrendous</li><li>motorists and horse riders both have a right to use the road and they also share a responsibility to consider each other's needs. However, horses are easily scared by noise and can panic around fast-moving vehicles. Consideration for other road users is key to avoiding accidents</li><li>when a motorist passes a horse and rider, they should pass leaving plenty of space and driving slowly. All horses should be treated as a potential hazard; they can be unpredictable, despite the best efforts of their riders</li></ul></div>
Advice for passing horses and riders Advice for passing horses and riders <div class="ExternalClass693E7369DA0A42DC826E0E0D521D770B"><p>The points below provide motorists with some simple tips on how best to safely pass a horse and rider on the road:</p><ul class="list list-bullet"><li>slow down and be ready to stop if necessary</li><li>look out for riders' signals to slow down or stop</li><li>watch out for sudden movements - horses can be easily frightened</li> <li>don’t sound your horn or rev your engine</li><li>if you’re approaching from behind while cycling, call out a greeting to make the horse and rider aware you are there</li><li>pass wide and slow when overtaking; giving the horse plenty of room. Don’t accelerate rapidly once you have passed them</li><li>on roundabouts, horse riders will keep to the left within the roundabout until reaching their exit, when they will signal left. They will normally signal right only when approaching exits they don’t intend to use</li><li> <a rel="external" href="">watch this short clip on how to drive safe close to horses</a></li></ul></div>

Further information

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