Staying safe on the road this winter.

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It isn’t a shock to hear the term, ‘British winters are unpredictable’. But staying safe on the road is important for you and those around you as we’re going to see a lot more rain, wind, fog, ice and maybe some snow over the next few months.

A combination of dangerous driving, bad weather and a lack of vehicle prep increases breakdowns and accidents. But, by following these tips, you can make sure you are staying safe on the road this winter, and staying a lot warmer!

Go slow!

Everyone is in a rush this year to hit their deadlines and fill the demand for Christmas. The roads will be busier too! Many people are channelling their inner Chris Rea – driving home for Christmas, avoiding rail strikes, and HGVs are delivering all the festive goods to shops and depots. This means there will be more vehicles on the road.

But there will be more ice, rain, fog, and snow too making the roads incredibly slippery.

Poor visibility, bad weather, the unpredictability of less experienced drivers, and slippery roads are the perfect recipe for an accident.

Did you know that 22% of UK road accidents are caused by bad weather? 11% of these were caused by high speed. Excessive use of the foot brake on roads can make your trailers spin out of position too.

Reducing your speed in bad conditions will significantly reduce this threat. Try not to make sudden actions and take advantage of the front, side, rear-view and in-cab cameras to eliminate blind spots. It might be worth getting your brakes checked too. Contact your local dealer to make sure your brakes are in working order.

Keep Your Distance!

Did you know the stopping distance in wet conditions is doubled in normal conditions? If you add ice or snow into the equation, it can be 10 times as far!

At 70 mph, a passenger vehicle would normally take just less than 320 feet to come to a complete stop. An HGV would take over 409ft. Imagine the distances if there were ice on the roads!

To avoid a collision, be mindful of others around you. Avoid doing any sudden manoeuvres as this reduces traction on the road and puts you and others at risk.

Precautionary measures for HGVs:

  • Make sure you have at least ½ a tank of fuel for extra weight. This will help with traction. The fuel will also help keep you warm if you have broken down.
  • Make sure your defroster is working correctly in icy conditions.
  • Make sure your heater works before you leave. You will be grateful you did if you are stuck in traffic or break down on a freezing day!
  • Make sure your lights are clean, visible, and working. If any light on your vehicle isn’t working, it is illegal, and you could face a fine. It is especially important for winter as nights are longer and you need to be visible to other road users.
  • Is your washer fluid topped up? Mud and snow can make your windscreen dirty. Make sure you have washer fluid to ensure full visibility. Washer fluid can also be used to defrost your windscreen.
  • Clean your windows and mirrors! You should make sure this is done before starting any journey.
  • Is your tyre pressure at the legal requirement?
  • Check you have roadside assistance in case you break down. If not – we have a 24/7 service for peace of mind.
  • The engine oil and antifreeze should be at legal requirements.
  • Clear your exhaust pipe of snow – or you could risk carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Make sure your batteries are charged! Typical batteries last around 5 years. You don’t want to be stuck in traffic if it dies!
  • Always plan ahead! Make extra time for your journeys. Check the weather and the traffic!
  • Make sure you replace or fix anything that is missing – your local parts dealer can help with this.

Plan a winter survival kit:

In the unlikely event you are stranded for a long time, you might want to consider having the following items in the vehicle!

  • Extra clothes, blanket, and jacket, to keep warm
  • Pack a torch in case visibility is bad
  • A shovel, sand, and salt.
  • A high vis
  • Jump cables
  • Food and water
  • De-icer and scraper


Get plenty of rest!

97% of us feel more sluggish or tired during winter compared to the rest of the year. We’ve all seen the signs on the motorway saying tiredness can kill. But we must pay more attention to this in the winter months.

Tiredness can lead to many drivers feeling tempted to rush their deadlines by not taking breaks which can be dangerous.

The daily driving limit for HGV drivers is 9 hours a day with a 45-minute break every 4.5 hours. You must also take an 11-hour break between shifts.

Make sure your tachograph in your cab is fully working to have accurate recordings of your driving time, speed and distance. All commercial vehicles registered on or after 1st May 2006 MUST have a tachograph – digital or analogue.

RHCV has DVSA-approved tachograph centres in Alfreton, Nottingham, Leicester, and Northampton for all your tachograph needs.


Make sure you have everything you need to keep your vehicle running safely over the winter months. RHCV have an extensive supply of parts to help your vehicle keep to maximum running efficiency and is committed to reducing downtime.

If you would like to get more information about staying safe on the road, please visit our website or get in contact.

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