1. ITV Report

Get yourself and your car into gear for winter driving

Cumbria Police are warning drivers to be prepared for winter Photo: ITV Border

Colder temperatures are on their way and it bring all kinds of driving hazards with it. Cumbria Police have issued their advice for drivers as winter weather approaches - be prepared.

  • Stop - Road and weather conditions may change. Be ready to slow down and take more care driving if you need to.
  • Look - Check your vehicle is ready for winter before your journey and always carry an emergency kit.
  • Listen - Check traffic and weather updates online or the radio.
  • Be prepared - Carry an emergency kit and ensure you have your charged mobile phone with you.
  • Be aware - in serve weather conditions, give response teams time and space to do their jobs.

Deteriorating light and weather can lead to challenging conditions especially on narrow rural roads. We ask that all motorists take into account these challenges when driving as too many road collisions are caused by those in control of a vehicle failing to adapt."

– Inspector Terry Bathgate, Cumbria Police
Credit: Cumbria Police

Before each journey in severe weather:

  • Clean any snow and ice from all windows, lights and number plates. Make sure you can see clearly and be seen.
  • Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged – but don’t use while driving.
  • Take some food and a warm drink in a flask in case you get stuck. Don't forget to take any personal medication too.

Motorists are responsible for their own vehicle and making sure that there are no deficiencies. Please make sure that your lights are in working order and that oil, anti-freeze and washer fluid levels are kept topped up due to increased usage from dirt and salt that is sprayed up from wet roads."

– Inspector Terry Bathgate, Cumbria Police
  • Check and replace the anti-freeze in the radiator
  • Make sure your lights are clean and check the bulbs
  • Ensure your windscreen is clean
  • Replace the battery if it's not reliable
  • Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated and replace them before the tread has reached the legal minimum.
Ensure to check the windscreen wash and oil levels in your car Credit: PA

Finally, for your own safety and that of drivers around you - make sure to drive according to the road conditions.

  • Allow extra time and distance to brake as it can take ten times longer to stop.
  • Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
  • To brake 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