Driving Advice

Whatever the weather or road conditions drivers should always be aware of other users and road safety. We have listed some top tips for drivers to help make journeys quicker and safer. 

Helping Congestion

Easy on the brakes

Hitting your brakes frequently helps create a traffic accordion as drivers behind you replicate your movement. This slows everybody down in the long run and makes congestion worse.

If traffic is stop-and-go, drive slowly enough that you aren’t braking every few seconds to avoid hitting the car in front of you.

Don’t surge ahead

This goes hand-in-hand with giving your brakes a break. Don’t speed up every time there’s a tiny break in congestion, knowing that you will have to slam on your breaks in 15 feet (or less).

You’re not going to get anywhere faster than anyone else in heavy traffic, so try to relax and drive slowly enough that you are neither braking nor accelerating unless you need to.

Give yourself space.

Driving too close to the car in front of you won’t get you to your destination any faster. In fact, it may slow you down even more.

Giving yourself a car length of space between your front end and the next car gives you room to react to other cars. It also allows you the time to decide whether or not you need to apply the brakes to keep the traffic flow moving.

Don't be so nosey

During times when there is a car accident, construction, or some other occurrence off the side of the road stay focussed on the traffic ahead of you and move past without looking. Trying to see what's happened is only causing more traffic to be delayed behind you. 

Drive a different route or at a different time

Changing your route or driving at less busy times it the best way to avoid congestion. There are lots of online tool such as Google Maps which show you traffic congestion and can predict busy or quiet times to help you plan ahead. 

Car share or choose different transportation

If you have the ability to take an alternate mode of transport during rush hour, such as a bus, train or tram, then do so!

Car sharing is another good way to reduce traffic congestion, as it means fewer cars on the road at a given time. Plus having someone to talk to will help make the drive seem even shorter.

Travelling in Snow and Ice

When snow or icy roads are forecast you should adjust your driving to suit the conditions and take extra care.

Before Snow and Ice

  • If you have to make a journey when snow is forecast, make sure you have warm clothes, food, water, boots, a torch and spade, and let someone know when you expect to arrive and your route. Try to wait until the roads have been gritted before travelling.
  • Put grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to lessen the risk of slipping on compacted snow.
  • Check on vulnerable neighbours.

During Snow and Ice

  • Avoid travel if possible.
  • If you must drive check the Highway Code for advice on driving in ice and snowy weather. A summary of the advice is: Take care around gritters. Don't be tempted to overtake. Slow down - it can take 10 times longer to stop in snowy or icy conditions, so allow extra room. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. If you start to skid, gently ease off the accelerator and avoid braking. If braking is necessary, pump the brakes don't slam them on. If you get stuck, stay with your car and tie something brightly coloured to your aerial.
  • If you go outside wear several layers of clothing and keep dry to prevent loss of body heat. Watch out for signs of hypothermia - uncontrollable shivering, slow/slurred speech, memory lapse and drowsiness and frostbite - loss of feeling in and pale appearance of fingers, toes, nose and ear lobes. Keep moving your arms and legs to help the blood circulate.
  • Be aware of black ice. It isn't always visible and so can be an even greater hazard for both motorists and pedestrians. Black ice may be formed when rain or drizzle fall on a road surface which is at a temperature below zero.

After Snow and Ice

  • Be careful when walking or driving on compacted snow - it may have turned to ice.
  • Take care when shovelling snow. Cold air makes it harder to work and breathe, which adds some extra strain on the body and can be the cause of heart attacks in the vulnerable.

Travel advice provided by the Met Office and Highways England

Travelling in Fog

Travelling in fog can be extremely dangerous. Fog can drift rapidly and is often patchy. Warnings of dense fog are issued when visibility is expected to fall below 200 metres. Severe disruption to transport occurs when the visibility falls below 50 metres.

Advice for road users when travelling in Fog

  • Avoid travel if possible.
  • Drive very slowly with dipped headlights, full-beam lights reflect off the fog causing a 'white wall' effect.
  • Keep an eye on your speed, fog can give the illusion of moving in slow motion.
  • Use fog lights, but remember to turn them off when the visibility improves.
  • Don't hang on the tail lights of the car in front, rear lights can give a false sense of security.
  • Watch out for freezing fog which is made of water droplets that freeze on contact with objects such as the pavement, road, car, etc. It can quickly form a layer of ice. Advice for when conditions are icy.

Travel advice provided by the Met Office and Highways England

Travelling in severe rain and wind

Traveling in severe storms can be dangerous for all road users. 

Plan Ahead

  • Even moderate rain can reduce your ability to see and be seen. A good rule of thumb is ‘if it’s time for your wipers, it’s time to slow down’.
  • If heavy downpours are expected, avoid starting your journey until it clears.
  • If you can, choose main roads, where you are less likely to be exposed to fallen branches and debris and flooding.
  • Use dipped headlights if visibility is seriously reduced.
  • Gusts of wind can unsettle vehicles – grip your steering wheel firmly with both hands. This is particularly important when planning to overtake.
  • Keep an eye out for gaps between trees, buildings or bridges over a river or railway – these are some of the places you are more likely to be exposed to side winds. Ensure that you maintain enough room either side of your vehicle so you can account for it being blown sideways.
  • Roads will be more slippery than usual in wet weather – be sure to give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard. Increase your following gap to at least four seconds from the moving traffic in front.
  • Keep your eyes peeled on the road at all times as spray from other vehicles can suddenly reduce your visibility. Remember it affects others too, so anticipate their actions and be prepared.

What to do if the road is flooded

  • On flooded roads, think before driving through deep water; don’t stop in standing water, and drive through the highest section of the road slowly. If there is any doubt don’t enter it.
  • Once you have managed to drive through check your brakes and dry them out as quickly as possible – a light touch of the brakes whilst still moving should do the trick.
  • RAC offers more in-depth advice about driving through water and floods.

Watch for motorcycles, cyclists and pedestrians 

  • Remember to give vulnerable road users including cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians more room than usual. They are more likely to be blown around by side winds – always keep a safe distance.

Travel advice provided by the Met Office and Highways England

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