15 February 2016

Winter Driving Tips

As much as I like to encourage visitors to my lovely home city of Bradford, there are a few issues that I can definitely imagine are discouraging to drivers:

1) People drive like maniacs. Despite my familiarity with the roads on my routes between home/school/work, and the drivers on them, it's still not often that I don't have my mind blown by the sheer idiocy/balls of some drivers. It may come as no surprise to many that Bradford has apparently the country's highest proportion of banned drivers still on the road!

2) Bradford is full of hills. Its all hills. It's rolling down big steep hills with your break half on to avoiding picking up the momentum to trigger the sneakily placed speed cameras. It's terrifying hill starts at busy junctions. It's knowing that if you have anything at all in the boot your tiny little car will do no more than crawl up the steep incline, irritating everyone behind you. (Though it could be worse, you could be trying to walk up these mini-mountains!)

3) We have terrible weather. Yorkshire isn't known for its sunny climate at the best of times, but our weather sometimes boarders on the just plain weird. It's not uncommon for me to set off on the clear dry roads near my house and get up to work in three inch of snow, or fog so thick you can't see three feet in front of you. And we are talking a journey of less than a mile here (though admittedly up one of those previously discussed treacherous hills!)
snowy night
Now, I can't do much about Bradford's scary drivers, or the massive hills,... but I have some winter driving tips to share so hopefully our erratic precipitation should be no barrier! Despite the unsurprisingly extensive information out there on the ways to make your driving as safe as possible in the winter months, when LV Insurance wanted to know my suggestions I headed straight to the invaluable font of knowledge that is 'the guys at work' - here's what they had to say:

Slow Down - Might be an obvious one, but the faster you are going the less time you are giving yourself to react to hazards.

Check your tyres - Something that should be done regularly anyway, but is especially important in bad weather when a good grip on the road is all the more important.
Drive in a higher gear - Slow and steady wins the race, but don't let the safe speeds fool you into thinking you should be in a low gear - the higher gears can help eliminate wheel spin.
Make sure you can see - the amount of snowy mornings I've seen people driving round with just a small clear patch, eye-level, on their windscreen and the rest of the car covered in snow... It's really important to make sure you have full visibility (ie all of the windscreen clear!), and that you aren't carting round massive snowdrifts that will only cause problems for other drivers.
Be prepared - like a good boy scout, it's ideal to be prepared for many eventualities! As well as making sure you have ample fuel before setting off (as well as antifreeze, screen wash, oil, and whatever else your car needs!), pack yourself an 'emergency kit' containing food, drink, a first aid kit, blanket and extra clothes, a torch, hi-vis vest, and de-icer!
Don't go if you don't have to - the best way to avoid getting into trouble in terrible weather is to just not drive in it unless its absolutely necessary! If it can't be avoided just make sure you and your car are as ready as possible, and take it easy!
Apparently we've now passed the UK's average snowiest day (10th of February!) for this year so hopefully the sun is on its way and we wont have to worry about all this for a little while - though it was still snowing here this morning so I guess its too early to be that hopeful yet!
And despite all that, I'd still rather drive round Bradford than anywhere else!

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