Stay safe this winter with advice on driving

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ROAD safety officials in Northumberland have backed an awareness-raising campaign to promote safe winter driving.

Northumberland County Council has joined forces with Road Safety GB North East to issue some timely advice if snow and ice start to affect the area’s roads.

County Road Safety Officer Les Gilbert said: “The biggest fear of most motorists is skidding on ice in freezing winter conditions.

“The best way of avoiding a skid is keeping your speed right — a slow but steady speed that is not too fast so that you risk losing control, but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it — and braking, steering and accelerating as smoothly as possible.

“Always start gently from a stationary position and avoid high engine revs. If you get yourself into a skid, the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the accelerator and steer. Never use the brake as this may lock up your wheels, resulting in total loss of control.”

A list of winter driving tips includes:

l Always carry a survival pack that includes food, water, a blanket and extra warm clothing, including Wellingtons or walking boots.

l Ensure you have a fully-charged mobile phone and in-car charger.

l Carry a shovel in the boot.

l Ensure that tyres have no less than 3mm of remaining tread.

l Have your battery checked.

l Ensure the windscreen washer bottle is topped up with the correct concentration of fluid.

l Check the anti-freeze level.

l Have the air-conditioning serviced, as effective systems de-mist windscreens much more quickly, aiding visibility and driver comfort in cold conditions.

l Adjust your driving styles to the weather conditions — remember stopping distances are dramatically affected by ice and snow.

l Consider whether your journey is actually necessary.

For further information on safe winter driving and all other road safety-related matters telephone 01670 533939.