As the winter weather sets in, it is imperative that drivers take steps to ensure their vehicles are safe during the rain, ice and snow. After all, road traffic collisions are the biggest killer of young people between the ages of 5 and 29, and they are most likely to occur at this time of year when the roads are even more dangerous than normal.
Last year, at Kwik Fit, we revealed, just how much driving in winter affects how long it takes your vehicle to stop. Our research found that performing an emergency stop in winter conditions takes twice as long in wet weather and ten times as long to stop in icy conditions. Driving on a motorway at 70mph, we discovered that it could take up to 770m to stop when the roads have iced over.
The hazards of winter driving are exacerbated when a driver’s vehicle has not been well maintained. In particular, your car’s tyres should meet an acceptable standard. However, a large amount of road users do not have tyres that are fit for purpose. We revealed this month that a third of UK drivers do not know that their tyres are unsafe, for instance, which makes driving in the winter even harder.
If your tyres do not meet the standard they should, it can make it much harder to stop should an emergency arise on a slippery surface. Worn and defective tyres can increase the length of time it takes you to stop even further, on top of that which comes from driving on a slippery road. This not only puts you at risk; it also puts pedestrians and other road users in danger. After all, your tyres are the only point of contact between you and the road.
For Road Safety Week, Kwik Fit is supporting Brake in encouraging drivers to perform FLOWER checks to ensure their vehicles are safe for winter driving: checking you have enough fuel, your lights are operating properly, your oil levels are normal, you have enough water, your battery is charged and, of course, that your tyres meet an acceptable standard. These simple vehicle checks can save lives during the harsh winter conditions we are bound to see in the UK.