John Davidge gives us his top ten tips on winter driving and suggests that in reality, it’s all in the mind.

The end of summer seems like such a short time ago, but the change in the weather and the change in the conditions on the road have been dramatic.

If you’re leaving the home or the office, the types of clothing, footwear and other sartorial choices, as well as weather-related apparel like scarfs or even anti-freeze, will have entered your conscious thoughts once again.

Getting behind the wheel now needs a different mind-set too – but autopilot (complacency) often results in ‘no change’, and no change means an increased risk to drivers. Having entered out of daylight savings and feeling the cold once again, we at Cardinus have decided to give you a different spin on your usual winter driving tips. Today, we talk about complacency and mind-set, because only when your mind is in the right place will you truly be able to mitigate risk.

Top ten winter driving tips for the self-actualising driver who wants to make it home for tea:

These tips might just help you or the employees you look after to avoid becoming the next collision statistic in your company:

  1. We don’t hit what we don’t see:
    • You might have heard THINK talk about this in adverts recently. The adverts focus on country roads, but it applies way beyond just one environment (watch it below)!.
    • So, clean all windows and mirrors. And clean them good. Dew, frost and grime can all stop you seeing what you’re about to hit. And low winter sun exacerbates grime inside the windscreen, so make sure you clean inside as well, before you crash.
  2. Other people don’t hit what they see:
    • It’s not just you on the roads, there happen to be other people using our road systems too!
    • Make sure that when it’s not clear on the roads that you use your headlights to help others see you better.
  3. Inattentive drivers behind won’t hit what they see:
    • Are you slowing down? Then make sure you tell other drivers early. Use your brake lights with enough time to get their attention.
    • Flash the brake lights if they’re still not responding.
  4. Tyres with lower tread won’t disperse as much surface water as new tyres can:
    • On a wet roads with worn tyres? Make sure you slow earlier for safety – or, maybe take the time to get them changed!
  5. Other drivers have tyres too!
    • Earlier slowing will give the driver behind you more time to notice (extra benefit, as you don’t know their tyre status!).
    • FOR A BONUS POINT: It’s a good habit to get into.
  6. Wet leaves, mud, debris washed onto the road after heavy rains:
    • All of these factors affect road holding and braking. Keep far away wherever possible, but if not, simply adjust speeds to compensate.
  7. During hot summers, how many bugs have your wipers scraped from the windscreen?
    • Are your wiper blades still as effective as they were last year? Have they been looked at? Perhaps it’s time you replaced them?
    • And let’s not forget the gallons of water you used to clean your window with. Do you need to replace the water?
  8. Frost on parked cars?
    • Notice frost on parked cars? That is pretty big sign that there could be frost on the road too.
    • What’s more it’s pretty easy to forget when it’s still ‘July temperatures’ inside the car.
  9. Allow others to make mistakes:
    • However good a driver you are, and however good your car, you need to allow other drivers to make their mistakes without affecting you.
    • How do you do that? Create S P A C E. Put distance between you and other drivers and you can’t get hit.
  10. Finally – if conditions are really bad, stay off the road and stay safe.
    • Or allow at least double the journey time to compensate.

SO what’s it going to take to help you avoid becoming a road traffic accident statistic?

It’s about a change in mind-set. It’s about self-actualisation. It’s about realising your goals (in the sense that you have one ultimate goal, to make it to your destination alive!). To achieve these goals, you have to plan ahead, think ahead, to move beyond the sense of complacency and the auto-pilot attitude that too frequently ends in collision, injury or even death.

The difference between a ‘licence holder’ and a ‘competent driver’ is primarily the state of mind. What about your state of mind this winter?

Check out the recent THINK advert:

Need a little help with your workforce when it comes to winter driving? Try out our classroom training. It allows for up to 25 drivers at a time to receive expert winter driving advice, helping them to avoid incidents at this precarious time.


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