As temperatures drop, thoughts turn to road safety amongst British motorists. During winter, a staggering 48 per cent of car accidents in the UK are as a result of skidding, yet a recent survey showed that many motorists feel confident driving in wintry conditions. The poll by Kia Motors found that more than half of women surveyed (54 per cent) are confident about navigating the UK’s snow-ridden roads, while 80 per cent of men are confident.
But Bolton Kia, along with the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) are keen to make sure that these self-assured drivers take no chances with the changeable climate and its unpredictable weather conditions over the winter months.
Alex Purdie, Dealer Principal at Bolton Kia said: "Sudden snow-fall seems to bring Bolton to a standstill every year, so we have teamed up with the IAM to help raise awareness of their campaign to improve driving standards and enhance on-road skills."
Typically, at temperatures below 7°C, braking distances of cold weather tyres in the wet are 10 per cent less than summer tyres and braking distances in icy conditions are reduced by as much as 20 per cent.
Having launched a dedicated winter driving advice website (www.drivingadvice.org.uk) here, Peter Rodger, IAM chief examiner, shares his tips for getting by on the UK’s snow-hit roads:
(1) Is your journey essential? Can you postpone or reschedule your trip? If not, make sure you pay attention to police warnings about closed roads
(2) Ensure your windows are clean and clear, and that you have all-round visibility before you set off. Also take the time to clear snow off the roof of your car
(3) When driving in snow, get your speed right - not too fast that you risk losing control, but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when it is needed
(4) From stationary, start gently and avoid high revs. Stay in a higher gear to avoid skidding and maximise control. If it is very slippery, in a manual car move off in a higher gear, rather than just using first
(5) If you get yourself into a skid, the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the pedals and steer. Only use the brake if you cannot steer out of trouble
(6) Double or even triple your normal stopping distance from the vehicle in front so you are not relying on your brakes to be able to stop; it simply may not happen
(7) Plan your journey around busier roads as they are more likely to have been gritted. Avoid using short cuts on minor roads – they are less likely to be cleared or treated with salt, especially country lanes and housing estates
(8) Bends are a particular problem in icy conditions – slow down before you get there, so that by the time you turn the steering wheel you have already lost enough speed
(9) On a downhill slope get your speed low before you start the descent, and do not let it build up – it is much easier to keep it low than to try and slow down once things get slippery
(10) Pack an emergency kit in the event of a breakdown. This should include a charged up mobile phone, torch, food, water, a high viz jacket and a blanket
Rodger comments: "In snowy weather it is worth considering fitting winter tyres, which have a different tread pattern to offer better grip on snow and ice. An alternative to changing tyres is to carry snow chains or snow socks to fit when the snow gets deep. Either of these can be used with standard tyres and they fit quite easily into a corner of the boot, or garage in summer."
For advice on winter driving and preparing your Kia for the roads, contact Bolton Kia on 01204 664800 or pay a visit to the dealership on The Linkway, Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich, Bolton, BL6 6JA.