The winter months are now well and truly with us so we should ensure that both ourselves and our vehicles are prepared for the cold snaps and inclement weather.
- Ensure you have anti-freeze in your engine and cold weather additives in your screen wash.
- Tyres should be in good condition with sufficient tread.
It is important to ensure that you think about the type of footwear you are wearing and whether this could have an adverse effect on your ability to control your vehicle when driving (wellington boots etc.). The thick and chunky sole of wellies and similar footwear can make you use the pedals too aggressively and unintentionally engage in risky driving.
The Highway Code Rule 97 states: Before setting off behind the wheel, you should ensure that ‘clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner’.
The same consideration should be taken if your pedals are wet and muddy. Although there is no law that specifically dictates that you must not drive if pedals are wet and/or muddy, you must think about the consequences of your foot slipping, which could affect your driving.
Many of the rules in The Highway Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Such rules are identified by the use of the words ‘MUST/MUST NOT’. In addition, the rule includes an abbreviated reference to the legislation which creates the offence.
Although failure to comply with the other rules of The Highway Code will not cause a person to be prosecuted, The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts to establish liability. This includes rules which use advisory wording such as ‘should/should not’ or ‘do/do not’.
Don’t forget to have your Winter Emergency Kit with you:
- A blanket, rug or sleeping bag
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Torch and batteries
- Snacks – chocolate or cereal bars
- Extra screenwash
And for when the weather turns really bad:
- A warm winter coat, scarf, hat, gloves and warm clothes
- Sturdy footwear
- A flask of hot drink
The Tilhill Winter Driving Toolbox Talk TT/47 is a good reference document to review in order to remind yourself of the extra precautions you should take.