14 July 2011
How to give road crashes the cold shoulder
Be aware of the conditions you’re driving in.
If there was just one thing AA driving instructor Lindsay Hastings would like drivers to keep in mind as we head into
the depths of winter, that would be it.
From frost, snow and ice to strong winds and rain, the weather can make our roads treacherous right around the country
over the next two months.
The school holidays start this weekend as well, meaning there can be more cars on the road and people driving long
distances, so it is a time for being particularly careful, says Mr Hastings.
“Drivers need to be aware of the weather and conditions they are driving in and adjust to them. If you’re driving on a
wet road in poor visibility you can’t just keep driving like it’s sunny and dry.
“Watching your speed and your following distance is even more important in the wet. Drop back from the normal two second
gap to four seconds so if something happens ahead of you you have more time to react.”
Icy and frosty roads are another possible hazard that drivers need to watch out for If your vehicle starts to skid on a
patch of ice it is best to lightly push on the brakes a couple of times. Braking heavily is likely to put the car more
out of control.
Making sure you can see and be seen as well as possible is Mr Hastings’ other key piece of advice.
“If it’s raining or a bit gloomy, keep your lights on. Especially if you’re driving a darker coloured vehicle that can
blend into the background.
“And If you get real torrential rain the best thing you can do is pull over and wait for it to ease up. If you can’t do
that, then at least slow down.”
“With the sun so low, sun-strike can be a big problem as well and we’ve seen some crashes recently where people just
haven’t been able to see the vehicle in front of them because of that.
“Keep your windscreen clean, on the inside as well, and check your wiper-blades.”