Keep safe on Oxfordshire’s roads this winter

Driving in the winter is very different than in other times of the year. Adverse weather and longer periods of darkness makes driving more hazardous. Weather can be unpredictable and turn quickly, making roads treacherous. Ice, snow, heavy rain and fog significantly increase the risks on roads, making each journey more difficult and potentially dangerous to you and other road users.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service would like to encourage residents to make sure they are ready for the winter weather and to have a safe journey whatever the weather.

Top tips for winter journeys

Completely clear all your windows and mirrors of ice and make sure all of your windows are demisted and not just a small area.

Adjust to the driving conditions: whether it’s frosty and icy, foggy or there’s heavy rain; please slow down and give yourself time to react.

Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front. It can take twice as long to stop on wet roads and ten times longer to stop in icy ones.

Also throughout the winter it’s a good idea to get into the habit to find out what the temperature is before setting off on your journey, roads surfaces are couple of degrees lower than air temperature, untreated roads could still be icy even if your car isn’t.

If you are walking or cycling when it’s dark, remember ‘Be Safe - Be Seen’. Have you got something white, bright or reflective that will help make sure you’re seen by other road users? If you cycle, check your lights and reflectors work.

Be prepared

Mick Clarke, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service Road Safety Manager said:

“It is important to be prepared. This includes preparation of your vehicle, yourself and your journey, as reduced visibility and slippery road surfaces make winter driving particularly hazardous.

“I would like to encourage all drivers to adjust to the driving conditions, whether it’s frosty, icy, foggy or if there’s heavy rain or a low winter sun, please slow down and allow yourself time to react.”

You may be ready for winter but is your vehicle?

Check your tyresACT - Air pressure, Condition and Tread depth at least once a month. In rain, ice and heavy snow the more grip you have the better.

Are your lights clean and working? Have you checked that your battery is fully charged and the condition of your front and rear windscreen wipers? Is your washer bottle full with water and screen wash? Don’t forget to keep it topped up during the winter months.

Have you got the kit? Keep an ice scraper, de-icer, hazard warning triangle, torch and high visibility jacket in your vehicle. In really bad weather you may want to include a blanket, shovel and wellington boots.

For further fire and road safety advice, visit the Safe Journey pages on the www.365alive.co.uk website.