Scraping ice from windscreen

John writes:

Driving is more hazardous during bad weather, so please do take care.

Check the forecast, plan your journey allowing time for delays, slow down, and be prepared for mistakes by others.

We want everyone to get to work or their place of rest safely.

Check your vehicle

Before you set off, make sure your vehicle is safe.

  1. Does it need to be serviced?
  2. Is there enough anti-freeze?
  3. Are the lights clean and working?
  4. Are the wiper blades clean and is there enough windscreen wash?
  5. Are all your tyres (including the spare) in good condition, with enough tread?
  6. Always clear the windows and mirrors of snow and ice before you set off.

You may like to think about having an emergency kit in the vehicle. How would you stay warm and hydrated if you got stuck?


Weather conditions

Check the weather forecasts. If conditions are very bad, think about whether you can postpone your trip. Notify your line manager so that alternative arrangements can be made to cover your planned work activity safely.

Make sure you have enough fuel for delays.

Driving in snow or ice – an ABCABC of winter driving
  • Avoid harsh braking and sharp steering, and slow down in plenty of time before corners.
  • Back off: leave a much bigger gap between you and the vehicle in front. RoSPA recommends you leave twice the normal braking distance in rain; in ice, up to ten times.
  • Cut your speed – your stopping distance will be much greater. The speed limit is a maximum in ideal conditions, and will certainly be too fast for bad weather.

If you get stuck in snow:

  1. Don’t leave your vehicle.
  2. Call your breakdown service or the emergency services and let help come to you.
  3. Don’t run the engine to keep warm.
Driving in fog

Avoid driving in fog unless you really have no alternative. If you have to drive in fog:

  1. Allow plenty of extra time and keep your speed well down.
  2. Use headlights and fog lamps, but turn off your rear fog lamps if you can see the vehicles behind you, or they will dazzle the other drivers. Do remember to turn them off when the fog clears.
  3. Switch off the radio and open the window slightly so you can listen for other traffic.
  4. If the fog clears, don’t speed up immediately – you may run into another patch.
  5. Don’t hang on to the rear lights of the car in front.


Look out for other road users

Remember that cyclists, motorbikes and pedestrians will be harder to see in poor weather. Drive slowly enough to see and avoid vulnerable road users.


Flooded roads

  1. Only cross if you can see how deep the water is. Just two foot of water may cause a car to float. If you can’t tell, or if the water seems too deep, find another route.
  2. If you decide to go ahead, drive slowly in first gear. Slip the clutch if necessary to keep the engine revs up and avoid stalling.
  3. The highest point of a road is usually in the middle, but don’t drive through floodwater if a vehicle is coming the other way.
  4. Test your brakes as soon as you are through.

    John Hannan, HSQE director
    Author: John Hannan, HSQE director


Bad weather driving advice from road safety charity Brake.