Driving in poor weather conditions is very different to driving in clear, fine, and dry conditions. Longer periods of darkness make driving more hazardous.
We have shared some winter driving tips for driving when we can expect to be driving in rain, fog, snow, and floods. Whether you are driving on your usual routes or driving further afield please prepare for the unexpected.
Leave plenty of time of your journey. When driving leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front. This allows for more thinking and reaction time when things happen ahead of you. Don’t just drive as you would in better weather. Headlights must be used when driving in poor visibility, which is less than 100 metres.
If you’re feeling unwell and your driving may be affected, make alternative arrangements.
Please share with your family and friends and help to keep everyone safe on the roads of Lincolnshire.
Getting ready to travel
Check your lights are clean and working properly. Know how and when to use them, including front and rear fog lights.
Check your tyres are road worthy, legal and at the correct pressures.
Check your brakes.
Clear all windows and mirrors. Check you have enough screen washer fluid and de-icing equipment.
If travelling further afield, keep an eye out for overhead messages warning of driving condition, delays, and alternative routes.
Let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to arrive.
Driving in fog
If you have to drive in fog, be extra vigilant. Allow extra time for your journey
You must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights, but you must switch them off when visibility improves.
Keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front. Rear lights can give a false sense of security.
You must be able to pull up well within the distance you can see clearly. This is particularly important on motorways and dual carriageways, as vehicles are travelling faster.
Use your windscreen wipers and demisters.
Beware of other drivers not using headlights.
Check your mirrors before you slow down. Then use your brakes so that your brake lights warn drivers behind you that you are slowing down.
Stop in the correct position at a junction with limited visibility and listen for traffic. When you are sure it is safe to emerge, do so positively and do not hesitate in a position that puts you directly in the path of approaching vehicles.
You must not use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights.
Travelling in snow and icy conditions
Snow and ice can provide tricky driving conditions. In severe snow conditions, we advise that you only make a journey if it is necessary. Can you postpone your trip or travel by other means? Could you make a phone or video call instead?
But if you do have to travel, please take care, and consider the following advice.
Clear your vehicle of snow, including windows, lights, and number plates.
Keep to main roads.
Drive slowly. Reduce your speed. Skidding can happen more easily, and your stopping distance increases greatly.
Use dipped headlights in poor visibility or snow.
Drive in as high a gear as possible and avoid harsh accelerating or braking.
Take care when approaching junctions.
Keep a safe distance behind other vehicles.
Keep a careful watch on other road users, particularly cyclists and children.
Make sure you have warm clothing, food, and a warm drink, wellington boots, a torch, a shovel, and reflective clothing. Keep a tow rope and hazard warning triangle in the boot. It helps to have a first aid kit and a warm blanket.
Winter sun can cause visibility problems. If blinded by glare:
Reduce your speed.
Keep your windows clean both inside and outside.
Wear sunglasses. Remember to take them off when the glare subsides.
Rain and flooding
Rain also reduces ability to see the road ahead:
It takes at least twice your normal braking distance to slow down and stop in rain.
Use windscreen wipers, washers, and dipped headlights.
Drive smoothly and reduce your speed and unnecessary braking.
Make sure your tyre pressures and tread depth are ok. This will maximise your tyres’ ability to grip the road.
If you aquaplane, ease off the accelerator and brakes until your speed drops and your tyres’ can grip the road properly.
Don’t attempt to cross flooded areas, look for an alternative route
Be aware of the bow wave effect from approaching vehicles and into properties.
Test your brakes when you are through flooded roads.
If you get into trouble
Stay with your vehicle until help arrives.
Put your hazard lights on to warn other road users.
If you have to leave your vehicle, be visible to other road users.
If you are forced to abandon your vehicle, call us immediately to provide details of your vehicle. Call us on 101 if you have abandoned your vehicle in severe weather conditions.
If you have had an accident and are in immediate danger, call us on 999.