Winter road safety tips
Road safety is particularly important in the winter months when driving conditions tend to be worse and the likelihood of harsher weather conditions is higher. Statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) show that the number of winter cycling and pedestrian injuries increases during October, November and December and motorists are more likely to be involved in an accident during adverse weather conditions too.
Read our top winter road safety tips on how to ensure that your winter journeys are accident-free, in the car, on the bike and on foot.
Winter driving safety tips
If you’re driving in icy conditions or if the weather is predicted to turn bad, it is important to make sure your vehicle is adequately prepared. RoSPA advises ticking off the items on the checklist below before driving in snowy conditions:
- Make sure heaters, defrosters and windscreen wipers work – and that you have plenty of washer fluid in the tank.
- Check the tyre tread depth and pressure – in heavy snow you may want to consider snow chains.
- Double check that all your lights are working properly and aimed properly so you don’t dazzle other drivers.
- Make sure you have antifreeze to combat any potential issues that may occur if the temperature experiences a noticeable drop, such as your water pump freezing.
- Create an emergency kit to ensure you are prepared should the weather change or you breakdown, including a high-visibility vest, a torch, extra clothes and a blanket.
Getting behind the wheel
If the weather is that poor, then try to avoid journeys that are not totally necessary. If you have to travel then road safety charity, Brake, recommends following these safety tips to try to help minimise your chances of being involved in an accident:
- Reduce your driving speed to avoid skidding.
- Keep a safe distance from the car in front and take corners slowly, avoiding sudden, quick movement.
- Stick to main roads that have been gritted, wherever possible and avoid harsh braking.
- Be extra aware of cyclists and pedestrians as they may not stand out in poor or darker driving conditions.
Winter road safety tips for cyclists
Cyclists can be particularly vulnerable during dark evenings or if the weather is poor so making sure you and your bike are prepared for cycling in the winter is really important. Road safety campaign THINK! advocates making sure:
- Your tyres have plenty of grip.
- You ride smoothly around corners, being careful to avoid any debris in the road.
- Your chain is in good condition and, ideally lubricate it every week during winter months to avoid corrosion and prolong its life.
- You have suitable lights on your bike and high-visibility clothing to stand out.
If your body is cold or numb your reactions will be slower which may increase your chance of being involved in an accident. Wearing warm clothing, including gloves and a hat underneath your helmet, will help combat this.
Winter safety tips for pedestrians
Just like cyclists, pedestrians can be harder to spot in dark or hazardous driving conditions. RoSPA recommends following these simple safety measures to minimise the risk of being involved in an accident:
- Wear bright or high-visibility clothing and avoid dark colours.
- Wear appropriate footwear to reduce the chance of slips or trips, especially in ice or snow.
- Be extra mindful of any obstacles, such as hidden ridges covered by leaves, snow or ice, especially on smaller roads that may not have been cleared.
- Avoid footpaths that have been in the shade as it will take longer for ice and snow to melt in these areas and may be treacherous.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident that was not your fault, call us for free initial compensation claim advice on 0800 0 224 224 or start a claim by completing our online claim form. Alternatively, you can find more information about making a road traffic accident claim on our service page.