Motorists urged to consider safety in snow

16th January 2013

With snow covering much of the UK this week motorists are being advised to put safety and vehicle maintenance first should be they get behind the wheel.

Temperatures have plummeted in many regions, with ice, frost and snow threatening drivers' ability to make even short journeys, however with a sensible outlook and a cautionary approach the weather need not impact every journey.

Of course when warnings have been released and the roads are covered in black ice or snow it is highly advisable not to drive, unless absolutely necessary.

Europcar has this week recommended that drivers must be confident in their abilities and the safety of their vehicle before driving in wintry weather.

"Driving conditions are more challenging during colder weather, with the risk of snow, fog and ice. That's why it's more important than ever to be driving a car in which you have confidence," claimed Ken McCall, managing director of Europcar UK Group.

Owning a reliable vehicle which has received full maintenance checks, on important areas such as tyres, engine and brakepads is essential for not only safety but peace of mind while on the roads this season.

In the midst of the UK's cold snap, road safety charity Brake has also urged drivers to follow the ABC of winter driving.

This includes, avoiding setting off in snow or other dangerous conditions, being prepared by checking weather and traffic reports in advance and careful driving, which includes keeping a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front.

While this may seem like common sense, a recent survey by Brake and Churchill Car Insurance found that most motorists do not fully understand the dangers of driving in ice and snow.

Only 16 per cent of those polled said that they avoided driving in snow, while 91 per cent underestimated stopping distances in icy conditions by half.

Some 13 per cent do not ensure their car has a minimum 3mm tread in winter and 14 per cent do not carry an ice-scraper of de-icer in their vehicle.

Commenting on the current driving conditions, Julie Townsend, Brake's deputy chief executive, called on drivers to do everything they could to avoid accidents during the cold weather.

"The most important message is to err on the side of caution and not drive if it's snowing, forecast to snow, or there are other potentially deadly conditions. Ice, snow, heavy rain and fog make driving incredibly risky; stopping distances double in the wet and can increase ten-fold in ice and snow," she explained.

Ms Townsend recommended that if journeys are absolutely necessary then a vehicle must be well-maintained.

This means that tyres should be fully checked and ice should be removed from the windscreen before drivers setting off.

Every car ought to include an ice-scraper or de-icer, torch, cloths, a blanket and warm clothes, spade, warning triangle, high-visibility vest, food and drink and a first aid kit to ensure that you are prepared for any emergencies.

A fully charged mobile phone and outdoor footwear were also recommended.

ATS can help you ensure your car is safer in the snow with winter tyres and an MOT to make sure your car is safe and prepared for wintery conditions.

Posted by Vehicle maintenance and safety is key to travelling in snow.