Winter Travel Safety
Whether you're walking, cycling or driving this winter, we've got tips to make your journey safer and easier.
Low sun, long dark nights, poor visibility and road conditions...winter travel is by no means easy. Unfortunately at this time of year, pedestrian road safety collisions are often at their highest.
Be Bright, Be Seen
When the clocks go back, we face a lot of long dark evenings through the winter. Add to that dull days or bad weather! If you're out walking or cycling in reduced daylight or the evening, dress brightly to help other travelers spot you.
You don't have to dress head-to-toe in neon or high-viz (though we know a few who can rock that look!). But brightly colored jackets or clothing with reflective strips can help catch light and make you seen.
You can even buy reflective stickers to add to jackets (including cool shapes for kids) or LED bands to wear.
Driving in the dark
- Be extra vigilant for pedestrians who may be harder to see
- Slow down in busy areas
- Be seen – turn on your headlights at twilight and in poor weather conditions
- Keep windows clean, inside and out – dirty windows increase glare and are more prone to steaming up.
- Have your eyes checked – night vision decreases with age.
Crossing roads safely
In bad weather we might be tempted to dash across the road to get out of the rain quicker , but don’t rush or take chances.
For the same reason, we might also look for the quickest way to cross rather than the safest. Cross safely and, where possible, try to use recognised crossings. Avoid crossing near parked cars and busy junctions.
Be alert, not distracted – it's easy in the rain, sleet or snow to want to keep head down - but keep your head up and make sure you can properly see and hear traffic.
Driving in winter weather
Dark days and winter weather can make for difficult driving conditions and its important to drive appropriately for the conditions.
Stopping distances increase with water and ice on the roads. Ensure you drive for the conditions and allow extra time and space for stopping and slowing down.
Check your tyres are the correct pressure and have a good amount of tread - about 3mm in winter. If you spend a lot of time in your car, you may even want to use winter tyres.
Allow extra time - both for your journey and for properly preparing your car by de-icing, clearing snow or de-misting. Remember to clear your side mirrors and registration plate.
Keep your screen wash topped up so you can always clear your screen of dirt and salt.
Consider having an emergency kit in your car, in case you should get stuck in poor weather.
Cycling over winter
Many of us have enjoyed spending time cycling this year. As we head into winter, some of you may be keen to keep cycling over the darker months. Here are some tips to handling two-wheels in the winter weather:
- Ensure you have working bike lights
- Have reflectors on your bike
- Wear high visibility or reflective clothing
- Dress in warm layers with waterproofs. Your hands and feet will feel the cold. You can buy overshoes and make sure that your gloves allow you enough movement for your breaks and gears.
- Consider wearing clear cycling
- glasses which can protect your eyes from wind, rain, and winter showers.
- In winter conditions be aware of the possibility of black ice. Wider tyres can give extra contact and grip.
- Give your bike a bit of a clean and some TLC after your journey to remove any grit.