As gritters are out in force across the region to make roads safer, Borders Group of Advanced Motorists instructor Bill Allison has given his top tips for driving in the winter.
He says only drive if its essential, and when it is, prepare properly before leaving.
- Completely de-ice and clean every window, the mirrors, lights and number plates.
- Check that lights, wipers and washers all work
- Check screenwash bottle is full and contains plenty concentrated de-icing additive.
- Check tyre tread depth and pressures.
- Carry: sacking, tow rope, shovel and torch
On longer journeys
- Carry: hot drink, food, warm clothing and blankets, and mobile phone and a means of charging it in the car
- Let someone know where you are going and when you are expected to arrive.
- Identify places to stay en-route should the weather worsen
He also provided some handy hints for driving itself:
- Steer, brake, accelerate, decelerate and change gear ultra-smoothly
- Look as far ahead as you can see in all directions so that you can change speed and direction early and gently.
- Leave a much bigger gap between you and the vehicle in front as it takes at least 10 times more room to stop on ice and snow
- Do not brake if you skid
- instead, calmly and gently remove excessive or harsh use of the controls or speed
- Be aware that even on gritted roads there can be areas that have been missed
- Watch out for bridges as they can remain icy longer than other roads
- The same applies to roads shaded by the sun
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