Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel
Breizh Poellrezh SF - Douarañ Santel

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This time of the year accidents and incidents seem to multiply so extra care should be taken. There are many simple things that you can do to make your journey safer and less stressful during severe weather such as checking your route for delays before you set out, taking an alternative route if you need to, taking an emergency kit and adapting your driving style to the conditions.


Before your journey

You should pay extra attention to planning your journey in bad weather. Before travelling you should:
• check the weather forecast and road conditions
• consider whether you need to travel right now or if you can wait until the weather improves?
• consider alternative routes
• consider alternative modes of transport
• allow extra time for your journey
• ensure that your vehicle is ready for a journey in poor weather
• do you have an emergency kit?
• consider whether you need to change your driving style to suit the weather or conditions
• tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive


Before you drive

It is important to check that your vehicle is well maintained and serviced. You should:
• if the battery is not reliable – replace it. Most batteries last between two and four years
• check that tyres have plenty of tread depth and are maintained at the correct pressure
• lights can get filthy with spray, keep them clean and check the bulbs often
• keep your windscreen clean. Dirty windows and mirrors can make it hard to see in low
winter sun. Replace worn wiper blades
• add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer bottles
• before driving off, make sure your windows, lights and mirrors are clear of mist, ice and
snow, inside and out

Emergency kits are essential

Keep an emergency kit in the car:
• ice scraper and de-icer
• torch and spare batteries
• warm clothes and a blanket
• a pair of boots
• first-aid kit
• battery jump leads
• a shovel for snow
• food and a warm drink in a flask
• sunglasses in the glove box to help you see in low winter sun
• make sure your mobile phone is charged fully in case a roadside phone is not available
• finally, a map


During your journey

Be aware of changing road and weather conditions – even if it is a road you use regularly.
Do not be lulled into a false sense of security – even if you drive every day on the same stretch
of road.
You may need to change the way you drive:
• reduce speed in bad weather
• increase stopping distances
• avoid sudden acceleration and braking
• use dipped headlights in poor conditions
• take breaks every 2 or 3 hours
• do not pass closed snow gates
• listen to radio travel bulletins
• observe information on Variable Message Signs
Watch out for locations where you may need to drive more carefully. Some common examples are:
• changes in road elevation or exposure
• where the road passes under or over a bridge
• things at the side of the road that shade
the carriageway (e.g. trees, bridges, or other structures)
• where there is less traffic use (e.g. slip roads)
• bends in the road where there is a greater risk of loss of control. Reduce your speed
when approaching.


Driving through ice and snow

• your stopping distance is increased ten times when driving in snow and ice
• select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin
• it is not always obvious that the road is icy. Look for clues such as ice on the pavement or
on your windscreen. If your tyres are making virtually no noise on the road it could be a sign that you are driving on ice
• do not brake - it will just lock up your wheels and you will skid further
• clear any snow on the roof of the vehicle before you drive off. It can slip down over the windscreen and obscure your view
• in severe cold or snowy conditions, look out for winter service vehicles spreading salt or using snow ploughs. They will have flashing amber beacons and will be travelling at slower speeds – around 70km/h. Stay well back because salt or spray is thrown across the road. Don’t overtake unless it is safe to do so – there may be uncleared snow on the road ahead


Floods

• try to avoid driving through surface water as you might flood your engine. Avoid the deepest water which is usually nearest the kerb
• if you have to drive through floods, drive slowly, using first gear and try to keep the engine revving at a high rate. Move forward continuously to avoid stalling the engine. In driving an automatic vehicle engage and hold in a low gear
• test your brakes after driving through water; they may be ineffective


Driving in windy weather

• take extra care on the roads and plan your journeys by checking the latest weather conditions
• high-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather but strong gusts can also blow a vehicle, cyclist, motorcyclist, or horse rider off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds, or when passing bridges, high-sided vehicles or gaps in trees


Driving in Fog

• drive very slowly using dipped headlights so other drivers can see you
• if it is really foggy (less than 100m visibility), then switch your fog lights and rear high intensity lights on. Remember to switch them off when visibility improves
• do not hang on to the tail-lights of the vehicle in front. This gives you a false sense of security and means you may be driving too close
• fog is often patchy so try not to speed up as visibility improves. You could suddenly find yourself back in thick fog further up the road.

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