Motorists must properly prepare their vehicles ahead of the cold snap to avoid putting themselves and other road users at risk, the Hertz Corporation and the AA have warned. Hertz and AA warn motorists to prepare for winter weather to cut road risks
With the mercury plunging and snow and ice on the way, the world’s leading general use car rental brand and its partner the AA have compiled their top 10 tips for staying safe on the road this winter.
By taking a few simple measures before setting off, drivers can reduce the risk of accidents and breakdowns in adverse weather, they said.
“Roads can quickly become treacherous in winter weather but with a little planning, drivers can help reduce the risks,” said Neil Cunningham, General Manager, Hertz UK. “Above all, we urge motorists to allow more time for journeys in winter weather to ensure their cars are properly prepared and to avoid rushing. With our rich heritage in motoring, road safety is one of our key priorities and we are keen to share our advice with drivers. We also offer winter accessories with our rentals, such as winter tyres and snow chains.”
Edmund King, president of the AA, added: “It’s crucial that drivers prepare before setting out in wintry weather. Simple measures such as properly clearing all the vehicle’s windows, mirrors and lights of ice and snow or doubling your distance in rain, snow and ice can be the difference between arriving safely and having an accident.”
Hertz and the AA recommend that drivers go through the following checklist before getting behind the wheel this winter:
* Check the vehicle before wintry weather sets in. Lights, mirrors and windows should be completely clear before setting off, and screen wash topped up at all times with a proper additive.
* Keep up to date on weather conditions and the state of the roads. Check the latest traffic and travel information before setting off on long journeys to help avoid getting stranded in freezing conditions.
* Stock up for emergencies and long delays in cold weather. Prepare a kit with basic items such as coats, blankets, water, food, atlas or satnav and a torch. Also remember to keep a fully-charged mobile phone and in-car charger to report breakdowns and emergencies if necessary.
* Tyres should be examined for adequate tread and pressures checked, while snow chains or winter tyres may be advisable in more remote areas.
* Keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel at all times to avoid running out if caught in long delays in bad weather.
* Keep your distance. Drivers should increase the braking distance between themselves and the vehicle in front in wintry conditions and keep their speed in check. The normal driving distance on a dry road is at least a two-second gap but this should be doubled in wintry conditions and at least trebled when driving on snow or ice.
* Use an ice scraper and/or de-icer spray to clear a frozen windscreen rather than using hot water, which can crack the windscreen. Use the blowers and air conditioning to clear condensation on the inside.
* Avoid braking sharply on icy surfaces. Ice is not normally visible, so apply brakes gently to eliminate the risk of skidding.
* Beware of aquaplaning. It occurs when tyres skid on surface water causing control on steering wheel to be lost. When this happens, instead of stepping on the brakes, it is safer to hold the steering wheel lightly and slowly lift the foot from the accelerator till the tyres regain their grip.
* When driving in snow, use a high gear to avoid wheel spin. If stuck, keep the wheels straight and move forwards and backwards gently to regain traction.