The best way to be safe in extremely bad weather is to avoid driving at all. However, that’s not always possible. In addition, bad weather can be unpredictable and it’s common to get caught out while on the road.
These basic safe driving principles apply in all adverse conditions:
- Slow right down – if visibility is poor or the road is wet or icy, it will take you longer to react to hazards and your speed should be reduced accordingly. If you have a temperature gauge in your vehicle that is showing zero degrees or below, then presume that the roads will be icy.
- Maintain a safe gap behind the vehicle in front – stopping distances are double in the wet and ten times greater in icy weather. The gap between you and the vehicle in front is your braking space in a crisis.
- Look out for vulnerable road users – be aware that people on foot, bicycles, motorbikes and horses are harder to spot in adverse weather and in the dark. Drive as though someone could step out in front of you at any time.
- Look out for signs warning of adverse conditions – including fixed signs, such as those warning of exposure to high winds, and variable message signs on motorways that warn of fog, snow and which may display temporary slower speed limits.
- Stay in control – avoid harsh braking and acceleration, and carry out manoeuvres slowly and with extra care.
- Use lights – put lights on in gloomy weather or when visibility is reduced. Only use front and rear fog lights in dense fog.
- Listen to travel news on local radio so you know where problem areas are.