Winter is here, and snow is forecast for much of the country this week. A common phrase often uttered by meteorologists at the time of year is “Only travel if your journey is essential.” The problem is that ‘essential’ means different things to different people. Could your trip be postponed? Is there another way of getting there? Can a phone call or email solve the problem?
If you’ve weighed everything up and decided that ‘yes’ you do need to make the journey then it’s vitally important to be fully prepared before you set off. In our last blog we talked about what you need to pack, but this time we’re going to look at what you need to do to be fully prepared for your journey:
- Traffic and travel updates
As annoying as it might be, you really need to turn off your music, podcasts and audiobooks, and listen to a local radio station. Sitting through Ed Sheeran and Little Mix might not be your ideal driving experience, but the regular traffic updates are essential listening. Conditions can change regularly so the 8am update may be significantly different from the 7:30am update.
- It’s good to talk
Before setting off, make sure somebody knows where you are going and when you should be arriving. Preferably somebody at your destination, that way they can try and contact you or raise the alarm if you are late and get into difficulties.
- Plan B
What if your preferred route is blocked or there’s a massive gridlock? Always try to have an alternative route mapped out. If you’re a satnav user, make sure you know an alternative postcode or landmark to aim for.
- Fill it up
Most of us wait until the petrol gauge is under a quarter before looking for a garage. But when there’s snow and ice around it’s sensible to ensure your gauge is well above 50% at all times. You don’t know where you might get stuck and have no way of getting to a petrol station.
- Call me
Ensure you have a fully charged mobile phone, that way you can call for help or alert someone if you’re delayed or have an accident. Walking to a phone, could be a lengthy and precarious task. Of course, remember to pullover safely and turn off your engine before making that call.
- Warm up
Hopefully it goes without saying that you need to clear your windows and mirrors of snow and ice before setting off. But make sure your heater is not only on, but it’s pumping out warm air before you begin your journey. Some vehicles can take a long time to produce warm air, so turn your engine on before you begin the de-icing process.
- Fit to drive?
Finally, are you feeling ok? Winter is prime time for colds and other illnesses. If you feel ill and you think it might adversely affect your driving, don’t risk it!
Winter is also an ideal time for some refresher driver training. If your employer provides this, then take advantage! If they don’t, then point them in the direction of our Driver Training options.