Thursday, 29 November 2012

Safety advice for motorists

Motorists are being advised to take extra care and time with their journeys as colder weather over night as resulted in icy conditions on the roads.

Patches of ice are on the roads and people are advised to take their time, keep a safe breaking distance from the car in front and reduce their speed.

Safety advice for motorists
• Plan your journey in advance
• Check local and national weather forecasts and tune into local radio stations to check on road conditions and closures
• Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive and ensure you have a charged mobile phone with you
• Make sure you are equipped with warm clothes, food, boots and a torch. In snowy conditions, take a spade
• Clear your windows and mirrors fully before you set off and carry a screen scraper and de-icer

If you have an accident, break-down or become stuck in bad weather conditions:
• Do not use a mobile phone while driving. Stop somewhere safe or ask a passenger to make the call
• On a motorway, it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone because the emergency services and breakdown recovery services will be able to locate you easily. If you have to use a mobile phone, make sure you know your location from the numbers on the marker posts on the side of the hard shoulder
• If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other drivers can see you

Vehicle maintenance:
• Keep lights, windows and mirrors clean and free from ice and snow – remember also to clear your vehicle roof of compacted snow in case it dislodges while you drive, as this could be dangerous to other road users
• Keep your battery fully charged
• Add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer
• Make sure wipers and lights are in good working order
• Check that tyres have plenty of tread depth and are maintained at the correct pressure. Consider changing to high performance winter tyres.

Drive according to weather conditions:
• Allow extra time and distance to brake as it can take ten times longer to stop in wet or icy conditions
• Adapt your driving behaviour. Keep in mind the decreased visibility and changing road conditions.
• Slow down and avoid sudden or jerky movements
• When driving on ice or snow use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
• To brake on ice or snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently
• Be wary of satellite navigation systems as they tend to direct you over high rural roads that are likely to be closed or particularly hazardous in winter
• Do not assume that pedestrians have seen you. They may be elderly, young or not be able to hear you
• Do not attempt to cross flooded roads if the water seems too deep
• Drive slowly through water in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch - this will stop you from stalling
• Test your brakes when you have driven through a flood before you drive again at normal speed

Check the Traffic Link section of Cumbria Constabulary’s website ( ) which is designed to provide information about the current state of Cumbria’s roads and the immediate surrounding areas in relation to road traffic collisions, weather, and delays as a result of incidents and congestion. The information provided is sourced from police and the Highways Agency and is updated every 10 minutes.

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