As the months get colder, so do the roads. Driving safely this winter and all year round is important and a new study by comparethemarket.com reveals how motorists’ reaction times are impacted when driving in adverse weather conditions. Snow impacts drivers’ reaction times by 34%, while thick fog impacts reaction times by 75%.
To determine the findings, comparethemarket.com created a quiz that allowed drivers to test their reaction times while driving in various weather conditions. Having put the quiz in front of drivers, it seems each type of weather brings its own set of challenges that drivers must contend with. To take part in the driving weather quiz, click here!
In order to help motorists prepare for driving in bad weather, John Parry, a driving instructor at Parry’s Fleet Services offers five tips you can see below.
Driving in snow and ice: It can be hard to tell if a road is icy. If your tires are making virtually no noise on the road you could well be driving on ice. If you are on sheet ice, don’t brake as this will make you skid further. If you find yourself behind a gritter or snow plow, only overtake it if it is safe to do so. Drive carefully, as there may well be uncleared snow on the road ahead.
Driving in fog: Use dipped headlights to start, however, if visibility is less than 100 meters, use front fog lights. Always drive slowly and increase the gap between you and the following car should you need to brake harshly for something you cannot yet see. If it’s really thick fog, consider opening your windows at junctions and roundabouts to hear approaching traffic. But, if conditions are really bad, you should consider whether your journey is essential. Lastly, it’s important to remember that fog can be patchy, so try not to speed up if conditions improve – you could run back into it a few miles further down the road.
Driving in rain: Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the car in front. Look out for fast-moving vehicles going the opposite way which may create spray and reduce your visibility as it hits your windscreen. Also, use your air conditioning as it will help to avoid mist. Moreover, should your vehicle start to aquaplane, don’t go for the brakes, take your foot off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
Driving in gale force wind: You’ll need no reminding that high-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather, but don’t forget that vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists, and horse riders can be particularly affected by strong crosswinds on exposed roads. Keep a firm grip on the wheel, take your time, and give other vehicles more space.
Always have an emergency kit packed: It’s always best to have an emergency kit packed should you break down. Pack necessities such as extra clothes, blankets, umbrellas, water, food, and a torch, just in case you’re at standstill for a while. Also, ensure you have a warning triangle packed and place this at least 45 meters (147 feet) behind your vehicle on the same side of the road on the carriageway to help warn other road users.