A driver with their hands on the steering wheel whilst their phone is cradled on the dashboard illustrating the dangers of driving whilst distracted

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Driving Home Safely this Winter

Claire Roantree provides the top tips for safely driving home this winter.

Winter has finally arrived, with many people enjoying the festive season and welcoming in a new year. For many, it is a time to slow down and spend quality time with loved ones. While lots of us want to cosy up indoors at this time of year, there also tends to be increased activity on the roads as people head out to socialise or visit friends and family.

It is important that any road user takes necessary precaution in the dark or during bad weather. Due to various lockdowns the country has been through in the past year and work from home guidance, many of us won’t have driven regularly in winter. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to refresh your memory before getting behind the wheel.

Driving in winter presents its own set of challenges. Here are five top tips to help keep you safe:

  1. Allow extra time for your journeys. If you are travelling on weekends or a specific day, such as Boxing Day, be aware that many others are doing the same. Leaving earlier will account for extra traffic and ensure you aren’t rushing, which can lead to poor decision making.
  2. Plan your route around major roads. Following a cold or windy night when ice and debris can be found on the road, major roads are the first to be cleared. This is especially the case in the countryside, so be aware if you’re travelling from an urban area.
  3. Defrost and demist windows. It is imperative that drivers can see clearly out of all windows before driving. Windscreen frost can take a while to melt, so bear this in mend and check your car’s settings to demist your windows from the inside.
  4. Ensure car lights are working. It is a legal requirement for all car lights to be fully functioning, and this includes fog lights. Car lights are relied upon even more in winter and greatly increase visibility, make sure they are clean too for maximum effectiveness.
  5. Remember ice and water increase stopping times. Drivers often react quickly, however, ice and water require slower breaking to stay in control. For this reason, leave more distance between the driver in front to keep both cars safe, especially if there may be black ice on the road.

When the holidays occur and into the new year, people tend to relax and become more lenient with their day-to-day choices. As a result, some may be more inclined to drink and drive. Unfortunately, the winter months do tend to see the highest number of drink drivers on the roads as adults underestimate the amount of alcohol they have drunk as well as its effects. Please remember not to drink and drive as it puts yourself and others at a much greater risk of an accident.

The Major Trauma Group would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable festive break, and all the best for 2022.

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