Friday 14 June 2024

Driving home for Christmas: how to stay safe on the roads during the festive season

Christmas is of course the most magical time of year, but bad weather and busy roads mean that it’s not all fun and games out on the road. Throw in the occasional idiotic drunk driver (which increase over the festive season), and it can spell trouble unless you’re careful. Driving in winter comes with additional risks, and with Christmas on top of this there are a few points worth bearing in mind. Here’s how you can stay safe on the roads this coming December!

Do regular vehicle checks

This is something you should do throughout the year either way, but will all of the other dangers on the roads over Christmas it’s worth being extra vigilant. Check that all of your lights are working, especially your fog lights which you probably don’t use much over the rest of the year. Your wipers should clear your windscreen efficiently, and your fluid levels- water, oil, and wipers should all be within the minimum and maximum lines shown on the containers. Having some de-icer in the car is useful too.

Replace your tyres

The tyres on your vehicle are a matter of life and death. Tyres that are worn without enough grip could skid and lead to a potentially fatal accident, particularly over the winter when it’s rainy and icy. Tyres should have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm– any lower than this and you’re breaking the law. They should also have no damage such as cuts or bulges. But this is just the legal amount. To go a step further you could replace them with winter tyres. These will perform better in slippy conditions.

Consider breakdown cover

If the worst were to happen and you do break down, breakdown cover means you won’t be caught short. If you don’t want to pay an additional cost for this each month, you could store the number of a reliable towing service in your phone instead. If you break down, you need help to arrive as quickly as possible. Especially if you’ve broken down in an awkward place such as right on a junction or roundabout! Make sure the company offers 24/7 and 365 days a year service. The last thing you need is to be stranded because it’s a bank holiday and nowhere is open!

Only make essential journeys

It goes without saying that the safest thing to do when the weather is dreadful is to stay off the roads entirely. While this won’t be possible in some cases, don’t take unnecessary risk. Do you need to drive to the shops today or can it wait until the roads are cleared? Could you put some wellies on and walk to work instead of drive? If you do have to drive, be extra careful and always leave a safe separation distance between yourself and the cars in front. If you use the highest gear possible, you prevent the risk of the wheels skidding.

What precautions do you take when driving over Christmas?

** This is a collaborative post

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