Learning to drive

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Safer driving

Be aware that the road and weather conditions play a major part in the way you and your vehicle behave whilst on the road.  Follow these tips in order to stay safe and make sure you understand what to do in different situations.

Driving at night

Just because there is less traffic on the roads its not a ticket to drive faster.  However, casualty rates are double at night.  Increased alcohol consumption, tiredness and darkness cause this.  You might not be tired or under the influence but unfortunately those around you might. Driving slower will help you to stop quicker should you need to.

Driving in fog

  • Drive slowly using dipped headlights or fog lights.
  • Don't hang on to the tail-lights of the vehicle in front - you may be too close.
  • Don't speed up if it seems to be clearing: fog drifts rapidly and is often patchy.

Driving on flooded roads

  • Stay in first gear and drive slowly.
  • Slip the clutch to keep the engine speed high and avoid stalling.
  • If possible, drive in the middle of the road to avoid deeper water near the kerb. .

Driving in winter

  • Good vehicle maintenance is particularly important in winter. Make sure your battery is fully charged, your tyres have plenty of tread and are the right pressure, and your wipers and lights work properly. Add anti-freeze to the radiator and top up screen wash.
  • Keep sunglasses handy - dazzle from winter sun can be dangerous. You should always carry a scraper and de-icer to clear windows and mirrors.
  • Ice and slush make driving particularly hazardous - it can take 10 times longer to stop than on a dry road.
  • When driving, use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin.
  • Manoeuvre gently, avoiding sudden braking or acceleration.
  • To brake without locking your wheels, get into low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently.
  • Take care around winter maintenance vehicles. Keep a safe distance behind salting lorries and snowploughs, and do not attempt to overtake or a tight road. Watch out for banks of snow thrown up by the plough.
    In really bad snow, don't drive unless you absolutely need to. Check weather forecasts and travel information, and if possible tell someone when you expect to arrive. Make sure you're equipped with warm clothing, food, a torch, and spade in case you get stuck.