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Police issue tips to keep motorists safe on Cumbrian roads this winter

Posted by StreetSafe on November 16, 2010

Cumbria Constabulary is urging motorists to take care on the county’s roads as temperatures plummet and winter weather sets in across the region.
Recent windy and icy spells have led to treacherous road conditions in many areas of the county, so the Constabulary today issued road safety advice urging drivers to take extra care, maintain their vehicles and drive to the conditions.
Chief Inspector Kevin Greenhow, head of Cumbria Constabulary Roads Policing Unit said: ”As temperatures drop and the winter weather sets in it is even more important to be prepared to keep yourself an other road users safe on the county’s roads.
“Safe winter driving always starts with the driver. My officers have attended too many crashes which could have been prevented if drivers had planned ahead, checked their tyres and adapted their driving style and speed to the road conditions. So we are urging drivers to take note of some simple steps they can take to help minimise the risks this winter.”
Plan your journey in advance:
• Check local and national weather forecasts and tune into local radio stations to check on road conditions and closures
• Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive and ensure you have a charged mobile phone with you
• Make sure you are equipped with warm clothes, food, boots and a torch. In snowy conditions, take a spade
• Clear your windows and mirrors fully before you set off and carry a screen scraper and de-icer

If you have an accident, break-down or become stuck in bad weather conditions:
• Do not use a mobile phone while driving. Stop somewhere safe or ask a passenger to make the call
• On a motorway, it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone because the emergency services and breakdown recovery services will be able to locate you easily. If you have to use a mobile phone, make sure you know your location from the numbers on the marker posts on the side of the hard shoulder
• If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other drivers can see you

Vehicle maintenance:
• Keep lights, windows and mirrors clean and free from ice and snow
• Keep your battery fully charged
• Add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer
• Make sure wipers and lights are in good working order
• Check that tyres have plenty of tread depth and are maintained at the correct pressure. Consider changing to high performance winter tyres.

Drive according to weather conditions:
• Allow extra time and distance to brake as it can take ten times longer to stop in wet or icy conditions
• Adapt your driving behaviour. Keep in mind the decreased visibility and changing road conditions.
• Slow down and avoid sudden or jerky movements are all vital to safe winter driving
• When driving on ice or snow use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
• To brake on ice or snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently
• Be wary of satellite navigation systems as they tend to direct you over high rural roads that are likely to be closed or particularly hazardous in winter
• Do not assume that pedestrians have seen you. They may be elderly, young or not be able to hear you
• Do not attempt to cross flooded roads if the water seems too deep
• Drive slowly through water in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch – this will stop you from stalling
• Test your brakes when you have driven through a flood before you drive again at normal speed

If you would like to speak to an officer about how best to stay safe on the county’s roads please contact Cumbria Roads Policing Unit on 0845 33 00 247. In an emergency always call 999.

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