Christmas is traditionally a time for family and, as people tend to move further and further away from their nearest and dearest, Christmas now means that the roads will be full of people travelling home for Christmas.
The chances of there being a yuletide blizzard are remote, but the fact is that being involved in a road traffic collision or finding yourself broken down and stuck in your car in the winter is not fun at all.
Last week, we took you through 1-5 of our top ten festive driving hazards. Here are numbers 6 to 10.
6. Driving safely isn’t just about you, the road and other vehicles, it is about other road users, too. There are likely to be more people out and about on foot and even on bicycles and the chances are that they are full of the “festive spirit”. If you are in a built up area, watch out for wobbly pedestrians, overexcited children or people who have had a drink or two and take bigger risks when crossing the road.
7. Black ice is a serious hazard in the winter and it is important that you know what to do if you encounter it. In short: stay calm and steer gently into the skid. Don’t accelerate, or brake, sharply.
8. Grit can help to improve road safety when it is icy, but it can cause its own risks when it thaws. Grit can fly up onto your windscreen, making it difficult to see; so make sure that your windscreen wash is full, and that you have added de-icer so that you can wash your windscreen, whatever the weather.
9. As people hurtle towards Christmas, the roads and car parks are full of stressed people panic buying. This naturally leads to lapses in judgement. So stay vigilant, especially in car parks and built up areas, where traffic levels are likely to be much higher than normal.
10. Be prepared. Getting stuck in the winter is no fun at all. If you are going on a long trip, it is always a good idea to be prepared. The following won’t take up much room in your car, but could make a huge difference if you do break down:
- Packet of biscuits or cereal bars
- Lighter and box of matches
- Candle (in a tin)
- Warm jumper
- A small amount of cash
- Details of nearby vehicle recovery services.