Now that winter has made itself at home we can expect more occurrences of frosty mornings, fog and sunstrike, all of which will make conditions on the road more dangerous.
Frost can affect you no matter how you are travelling - driving, motorcycle, bus, cycle, scootering or walking, people should take special care on bridges, shaded areas where there are trees overhanging, cycle lanes and footpaths and be aware that black ice is especially treacherous because it’s hard to see.
Fog can reduce your visibility making it hard to see what is happening ahead of you.
Sunstrike can occur at any time during the day but is most likely during sunrise or sunset when the sun’s rays are at a low angle. This can make it difficult, or even impossible, to see. This is a very dangerous condition to drive in.
To avoid a crash, check out these key tips below:
Make sure you don’t head off until you can see clearly out of both windscreens, all your windows, and your rear and side-view mirrors, take a few extra minutes for your demister to do its job and the heater to warm the car.
Consider using anti-fog products to clean the inside, and get rid of that annoying film that can build up and make mist/condensation worse.
Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition and check your washer fluid at the same time.
Drive slower than you normally would – it only takes a split second to lose control in wet or icy conditions.
Avoid sudden braking or turning that could cause you to skid. Accelerate smoothly and brake gently, and use your highest gear when travelling uphill and your lowest downhill.
Drive at a safe travelling distance because it takes longer to stop on slippery roads. In winter, especially in poor weather, double the two-second rule to ensure a safe distance between you and the car in front.
Avoid towing in icy conditions.
Allow more time for your journey, as you cannot safely maintain the sort of speeds you may normally travel at.
In fog, turn on your headlights, not your parking lights
Drivers should also:
Adjust your speed so you have clear visibility of the road at all times
Keep your headlamps on dipped (low beam), high beam will reflect off the fog and produce glare, further reducing visibility
Only use fog lamps when visibility is severely reduced (e.g. by snow or fog). It is illegal to use fog lamps in clear conditions (day or night) as they reduce the visibility of other drivers
Keep a generous following distance between you and the car in front.
Be prepared for possible sunstrike when driving or riding at sunrise or sunset, especially when turning or travelling towards the sun
Keep your windscreen or visor clean, inside and out before you set off, as dust and grime on the windscreen can make the effects of sunstrike much worse
Consider using anti-fog products to clean the inside, and get rid of that annoying film that can build up and make mist/condensation worse
Be especially careful in winter, when sunstrike is more likely to occur because the sun is lower in the sky
Wear sunglasses when driving or riding with the sun in your eyes
Use your car's sun visors to block the sun
If you experience sunstrike, it may be best to pull over and wait for a few minutes until your eyes adjust or visibility improves
Be careful if snow has fallen and the sky is clear - sunlight shining on snow can cause 'snow blindness', which produces similar effects to sunstrike
Take extra care at intersections when the sun is low - even if it is at your back, as it may be affecting the visibility of other road users.