Driving in Winter Safely

With the weather warnings still coming, here at Trafficlear limited, we have decided to create a short list of top tips that should be followed when driving in the remaining Winter months.

We provide kit for all different types of vehicle industries, including Highways and Emergency Services and therefore we would like to promote the safety of drivers in the winter season.

Winter tyres. Although they don’t seem like a big thing to have, they are essential and can make a huge difference when driving in the adverse weather conditions. Our company fleet is all kitted out with winter tyres in order to improve traction and therefore safety in the snow and ice. Winter tyres are advised to be used from November until March. If you can’t get your hands on winter tyres, it may be an option to look for all season tyres, which will suit you in all weather conditions and will be a little cheaper than having two sets of different wheels. Right: A Trafficlear vehicle fitted with winter tyres, making quick work on the snow high up on the outskirts of Huddersfield. Featured on Examiner Huddersfield Website.

Journey Times. Unlike the rest of our team, I don’t live near the Trafficlear office and so my morning commute takes around 25 minutes longer than my colleagues. However in this winter period I have found my journey time going up to around 45-50 minutes in total. So the lesson learnt from this is to give yourself just that extra bit of time, to compensate for traffic moving slower due to bad weather conditions.

The higher your gear, the less your wheels will spin. If you try and race off the start with tons of revs you’re going to have a bad time, unless you enjoy digging a nice deep hole in the snow and getting nowhere! Make sure you accelerate nice and smoothly and then you shouldn’t get stuck (as often). If you find yourself getting nowhere, just take a minute or two to try and clear some of the snow or ice from under your wheels, spread a bit of grit if you have it or just dig at it with a shovel.

In the ice, snow and rain your braking distance can be increased by tenfold, so no matter how fast you think you will be able to stop, you still probably won’t stop in time and therefore this may have serious consequences. So look ahead to see if you are going to have to slow down, then do so in plenty of time. The best way of slowing down safely is to gently apply the brakes, lowering the gears as you slow down in order to use engine braking. The Department for Transport Rule 126 states that when travelling at 60mph your braking distance is up to 56 metres, so if the roads are covered in sheet ice your braking distance may be increased up to 568 metres.

Don’t become complacent. When you’ve been driving many a year, you reckon you will know everything there is to know. This may be true, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change in an instant, that patch of black ice that you completely miss could be then end of your driving career. Black ice is more likely to appear with heavy rain during freezing temperatures.

New drivers. The Department for Transport states that there are around 500, 000 new drivers on the road each year. For many of these new drivers it will be their first season of winter driving, so with little or no experience, they may not be able to exhibit as much control over the vehicle as an experienced driver. If they hit a slightly icy patch they may not instinctively know what to do, so if you think you are following someone who is a new driver, or maybe just even a nervous driver, give them a bit of space and do not rush them by ‘tail gating’.

Doug Fairlie

Doug Fairlie

Managing Director

See the Trafficlear difference.

We are designers and distributors of electrical control systems, hazard warning lighting and energy systems for bespoke vehicles and fleets, both private and public sector. Trafficlear are a solution led organisation and are willing to find the resolution for customer problems. We have previously managed bespoke vehicle conversions, within the emergency and highways market.