Fire service advises safe driving with Devon set for cold spell

PUBLISHED: 15:21 11 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:56 11 January 2017

Archant

Devon motorists are being urged to take care with cold weather predicted later this week.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service says drivers should ensure their vehicles are ready for the conditions, and that extra care is needed when driving in rain, snow, or with the potential for ice on the road.

The fire service advises motorists to check anti-freeze levels, top up screen wash with a higher concentrate so it does not freeze, check tyre pressures, and keep lights and windows clean.

Motorists are also advised to keep an emergency kit in their car, including warm clothes and sturdy warm footwear, an ice scraper and de-icer, a blanket, a first aid kit, a warning triangle, jump leads, a snow shovel, a road atlas, a torch and spare batteries, a fully charged mobile phone, and snow chains or snow socks.

The fire service has also issued the following list of winter driving tips:

Drive defensively; anticipate the road ahead through observing near, middle and far distance.

Keep well within the speed limits; drive to the conditions not the speed limit.

Avoid excessive steering and cornering at speed, steer smoothly into bends and corners.

Avoid excessive braking, brake gently and use low gears to engine brake.

Avoid overtaking snow ploughs or gritting vehicles, the driver has limited visibility and the road in front of them will be worse than the road behind them.

Increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front, stopping distances can increase 10 times that of normal stopping distances.

Black ice is more prevalent early morning and late at night when temperatures are at their lowest.

Use second gear when moving off in snow.

Select the most suitable gear early when driving up hill, avoids changing gear on the hill and losing momentum.

Reduce speed before going downhill, select a low gear and avoid using the brakes.

Allow an extra 10 minutes to prepare the car before setting off.

Clear snow off of the vehicle before driving off, as frozen blocks of snow falling from your vehicle are a hazard to other road users and can slide forward obscuring your visibility.

Do not drive off until windows have fully de-misted and all ice is removed.

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