Winter Travel

Travelling over the winter months can be a challenging experience that can catch out even the most experienced drivers and riders.

Winter weather can be unpredictable. Heavy rain, high winds, thick fog, and even ice and snow can all affect your journey, advice on how best to drive/ride in these types of conditions and more can be found on our Adverse Weather page.

It goes without saying that you should always check the weather forecast before starting your journey and if bad weather is predicted then consider whether your journey is really necessary.

To visit the Travel Somerset web page click here.

It’s important to ensure your vehicle is both safe and legal. Doing some basic checks on a regular basis will help you reach your destination safely:

  • The only part of a vehicle in contact with the road surface are its tyres, so check tyre pressure, tread depth and for wear and tear
  • Keep the windscreen clean and check that wiper blades are in good condition and the windscreen washer bottle topped up with the correct mix of screen wash, preferably one designed to cope with low temperatures
  • Ensure all the lights are working (it’s a good idea to keep a spare set of bulbs in the vehicle)
  • Make sure your battery is in good condition
  • Top up the anti-freeze in the cooling system (in winter you need a mix of 50-50 anti-freeze and water)
  • More information on how best to keep your vehicle fit for the road can be found on our Maintaining Your Vehicle page.

Our top tips for safe travel over the winter months are:

  • Leave more time for your journey
  • Completely de-ice/mist the windows and lights of your vehicle before driving off, and never leave a vehicle unattended while doing so.
  • Remember that not all roads are salted. Take extra care when driving/riding on unsalted roads and be aware that ice can still form on roads that have been treated
  • Mind your speed and drive/ride for the road conditions
  • Increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front – stopping distances can be 10 times longer in icy conditions
  • Use your lights so that other road users can see you
  • Avoid distractions and look out for other road users, particularly vulnerable road users such as bikers, cyclists and pedestrians

It’s also a good idea to consider carrying a winter emergency kit in your vehicle; you’ll most likely never need it but you’ll be glad you’ve got it should the worst occur. Items you should think about carrying include:

  • Fully charged mobile phone plus an in-car charger or separate power pack
  • Sat nav and a road atlas as a back up
  • Ice scraper and de-icer
  • Sunglasses (to help with low winter sun)
  • First aid kit
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Warm clothing
  • Wellington boots
  • Hi vis vest
  • Set of jump leads
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Shovel
  • Bottle of water
  • Snacks

While it’s impossible to remove of all the dangers associated with winter driving/riding by following the simple advice set out on this page you can minimise the risks and help to keep you and your loved ones safe.

 

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