An awareness-raising campaign to promote safe winter driving throughout the region is being supported by road safety officials from Northumberland County Council.
They have joined forces with Road Safety GB North East, the organisation representing local authority road safety officers across the region, to issue some timely advice ahead of the snow and ice that is likely to affect roads at various times over the next few months.
Les Gilbert, the county road safety officer, said: “The biggest fear of most motorists is skidding on ice in freezing winter conditions.
“The best way of avoiding a skid is keeping your speed right – slow but steady speed not too fast so that you risk losing control but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it – and braking, steering and accelerating as smoothly as possible.
“Always start gently from a stationary position and avoid high engine revs. If you get yourself into a skid, the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the accelerator and steer. Never use the brake as this may lock up your wheels, resulting in total loss of control.”
Drivers are being advised to protect their cars for the winter and to prepare properly for a trip. A list of top 10 winter driving tips has now been issued.
They are advised to:
- Always carry a survival pack in the car that includes food, water, a blanket and extra warm clothing including wellington boots or walking boots.
- Ensure they have access to a fully-charged mobile phone along with an in-car charger.
- Carry a shovel in the boot.
- Ensure that tyres have no less than 3mm of remaining tread and consider fitting winter tyres.
- Check the battery. Batteries have to work extra hard in the cold and are more likely to fail when most needed.
- Ensure the windscreen washer bottle is topped up with the correct concentration of fluid.
- Check the anti-freeze level within the cooling system. Anti-freeze deteriorates over time.
- Have the air-conditioning serviced, as effective systems de-mist windscreens much more quickly, aiding visibility and driver comfort in cold conditions.
- Adjust driving styles to the weather conditions; remember stopping distances are dramatically affected by ice and snow.
Councillor Isabel Hunter, executive member for infrastructure and environment, said: “By following these tips – many of which involve simple, basic tasks – drivers can minimise the risks they face and improve their chances of driving incident-free during the winter.”
For further information on safe winter driving and all other road safety-related matters, motorists should call (01670) 533939.