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Adverse weather: tips for driving in the winter

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As winter approaches and adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, frosty mornings and occasional snowfall become more frequent, your daily commute can soon transform into a mission reminiscent of Ice Road Truckers. Considering the UK’s unpredictable weather and the effect it has on the country’s roads and public transport, it’s always a good idea to be prepared and have some strategies in place for those cold, wet mornings when your plans to double up on socks don’t quite cut it.

Plan in advance

Pre-planning is key when it comes to commuting in the winter months – keeping an eye on the weather forecast will help you to stay ahead of any weather that could possibly cause disruption to your journey and will allow you to plan for any extra time that you feel you might need to get to work on time. 

We all know the pain of waking up with 15 minutes to shower, get dressed and eat - the last thing anyone needs in that situation is to walk out the front door to see the pain of a frozen windscreen. Pre-planning will help you better predict when it’s likely that you’re going to need to pull out the de-icer and ice scraper and means you can set an alarm that will give you ample time to warm up the car before you need to leave.

Public transport as an alternative

Much like commuters who travel by car, public transport is also affected by adverse weather conditions, and similarly, staying informed plays an all-important role in relieving stress and ensuring you get to work safely and on time. Keep tabs on real-time updates from your transport provider – trains may have last minute cancellations or delays, and buses are likely to be running behind schedule due to the influx of traffic on the roads, as people who may usually walk or cycle are more likely to drive. 

If the weather conditions are so bad that you don’t feel comfortable driving due to the risk involved, consider public transport as an alternative. It may make your commute slightly longer than usual, but you have the advantage of being able to get stuck into your favourite book, podcast or album.

Wrap up warm!

Dressing appropriately could be your saving grace for your winter commute, especially if you find yourself in a position where you’re stuck somewhere for an extended period of time, for example, in the dreaded chance that you were to break down. For those of you who regularly commute by car, it’s worth keeping some emergency supplies in your boot – an umbrella, waterproof jacket and a warm, thick jumper will come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck on the side of the M1. If travelling by public transport, wrap up warm with a coat, scarf and a suitable pair of shoes with grip for those frosty mornings. 

For extra warming power, pack a flask with your favourite hot drink. Not only will this warm you up from the inside out, but it’s also an effective and efficient way to keep your hands from turning to ice. A hug in a mug.

Safety first

It goes without saying that keeping your wits about you when commuting is a good idea at the best of times, but even more so during the winter period. When driving in adverse weather conditions, especially in heavy rain or snow, drive slower and pay attention to the changing conditions to reduce the risk of any accidents. If visibility is poor, also take extra care when driving in built up areas to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

In the unspeakable, unthinkable possibility that your car decides to play up, having an idea of how your breakdown cover works will save you time and relieve any surprises. Keep your phone fully charged in case you need to contact your service provider and consider keeping a portable charger in your car for any emergencies.

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