Top 10 tips for driving in wet and icy weather from Essex Police

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ESSEX Police has released some tips about driving in wet, icy or snowy weather to help keep drivers safe this autumn and winter.

1. Driving in heavy rain

Check your brakes, tyres, lights, batteries, windscreens and wipers are in good condition and well maintained. It is particularly important to ensure the pressure and tread on your tyres are OK before setting off.

Adjust your wiper speed and make sure your wiper blades are kept clean and free from defects.

Ensure there is proper de-icer fluid in the screen wash bottle and make sure the bottle is full.

If you break down don’t be tempted to prop the bonnet open while waiting for assistance. The engine will be more difficult to start if the electrics are soaked.

2. Keep informed

Check the forecasts before travelling and where possible consider taking alternative routes to avoid bad weather.

Listen to the radio for the latest news about accidents or hazards that may interfere with your journey.

3. Driving in snow

Make sure all your car lights are working and you have no failed bulbs. Ensure that dirt, salt and snow is cleared away from light fixtures.

Always ensure all windows are fully cleared of snow, frost and condensation before setting off on a journey – it is illegal to drive with obscured vision.

Also clear snow from the top of the car as this can fall down and obscure your windscreen while you are driving.

Keep windscreen washer fluid topped up as windscreens quickly become dirty from traffic spray and salt from the roads.

Make sure you have sufficient fuel for your journey. Keep the fuel tank topped up.

Carry warm waterproof clothing, food, water and a torch in your vehicle in case weather conditions mean you have to stop

Take a mobile telephone with you and make sure it is fully charged. Carry a mobile charger in the car.

Be mindful that even if it has stopped snowing, low temperatures could cause snow to turn to ice resulting in hazardous road conditions.

If you get stuck in the snow stay with your car. In an emergency, if you do need to leave it, park it out of a main traffic route, where it won’t cause an obstruction when conditions ease.

4. Don’t rush

Give yourself extra time for your journey and drive at a constant speed. Accept your journey will take longer and don’t take risks.

5. Driving in fog

When driving in fog use dipped headlights so other drivers can see you. Fog lights can be used when visibility is seriously reduced to less than 100 metres but they must be switched off if visibility improves.

Maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front, and be aware of other drivers who don’t use headlights, as they will be harder to see.

Familiarise yourself with your front and rear fog lights – know how to switch them on and off

Avoid tailing the rear lights of the vehicle in front. Getting too close can give you a false sense of security.

Try to avoid speeding up too quickly, even if the fog seems to be clearing. You could find yourself in the middle of dense fog.

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