During the winter months Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service remind you that there is a greater chance of becoming involved in a driving incident. With extremes of weather becoming more widespread all motorists are exposed to harsher driving conditions. Extra care is needed when driving in snow and icy conditions. The following advice will enable you and your family to be prepared.Equipment - ideally the following items should be carried on you or in the vehicle: Warm clothes and sturdy warm footwear Ice scraper and de-icer, Blanket, First Aid Kit and warning triangle, Jump leads, Snow shovel, Road Atlas, Torch and spare batteries.Fully charged mobile phone, Sunglasses, Snow chains or snow sock Remember to prepare your vehicle for winter driving before you set off Check anti-freeze levels, Top up your screen wash ensuring it is a higher concentrate or it will freeze, Check tyre pressures, Keep your lights and windows clean. Top winter driving tips 1. Drive defensively; anticipate the road ahead through observing near, middle and far distance. 2. Keep well within the speed limits; drive to the conditions not the speed limit. 3. Avoid excessive steering and cornering at speed, steer smoothly into bends and corners. 4. Avoid excessive braking, brake gently and use low gears to engine brake. 5. Avoid overtaking snow ploughs or gritting vehicles, the driver has limited visibility & the road in front of them will be worse than the road behind them. 6. Increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front, stopping distances can increase 10 times that of normal stopping distances. 7. Black ice is more prevalent early morning and late at night when temperatures are at their lowest. 8. Use second gear when moving off in snow. 9. Select the most suitable gear early when driving up hill, avoids changing gear on the hill and losing momentum. 10. Reduce speed before going downhill, select a low gear and avoid using the brakes. 11. Allow an extra 10 minutes to prepare the car before setting off. 12. Clear snow off of the vehicle before driving off, frozen blocks of snow falling from your vehicle are a hazard to other road users and can slide forward obscuring your visibility. 13. Do not drive off until your windows have fully de-misted and all ice removed. Key causes of skids: Excessive Speed - Excessive / sudden braking Excessive / coarse steering â Harsh acceleration
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