Driving during severe weather conditions is dangerous. With road accidents getting worst each year due to fog-related crashes, driving in winter has become frightening too. Almost 100% surge in fog-related road accidents during winter between 2014 and 2017 in India is a fact that’s enough to quiver our soul. As many as 11,090 people died in such accidents in 2017, which are 20% more than 9,317 deaths in 2016. As responsible citizens of India, we must contribute to reducing these deaths by practising safe driving and calling 108 helpline number for emergency care.
Safe driving in winter requires a lot of defensive driving techniques and extra vigilance. Some of the safety tips to follow while driving in winter or severe cold weather include:
Vehicle Maintenance: Always ensure your vehicle is in safe working condition during winter. It is possible by reducing the strain from your vehicle with the right set of winter tyres having plenty of tread for excellent traction limit given the road conditions in winter. Keep half of your fuel tank filled at all times and adequately working battery for hassle-free driving. Also, make a note of never warming up your vehicle in a garage or any enclosed area in winters.
Track Weather Conditions: Check for weather updates before driving along a particular route and accordingly, plan or delay your journey.
Increase Safe Distance time: Increase the time of the following distance to 6 -10 seconds. It will provide you enough time to stop your vehicle in cases of emergency. Also, do not make use of cruise control features while driving in winter and foggy weather. Driving at a reduced speed with more following distance will bring down the number of accidents.
Clear View of the Road: Maintaining a clear view of the road is of utmost importance during the winter with proper heating and cooling systems in the vehicle. During foggy weather, you should ensure that your wipers, headlights, and fog lights are in good working condition. Any problem in these parts can hamper your visual acuity.
Safe Driving Speed: Driving too fast or too slow in winter is dangerous. You will have to maintain a safe speed. In the case of too slow driving, there is a high risk of being rear-ended by other vehicles. Also, one of the reliable ways to avoid accidents during winter is to never stop your vehicle on slippery/snowy roads in northern India or even while driving uphill anywhere in the country unless you have to. Practising it will help you prevent your vehicle from skidding or spinout. Drive slowly during foggy weather to easily anticipate the upcoming obstacles or signals.
Stock Safety Gear: During winter, the possibility of accidents and vehicle breakdown increases. Therefore, it is advisable to keep yourself prepared to face the harsh weather by stocking jacket, blanket, and gloves. These items will help you offer some relief whenever you find yourself stranded in severe and cold weather. Also, keep reflectors to provide high visibility to others on being deployed near your stopped vehicle. Last but not least, you must always keep a first aid box handy in your car. It will be of great help till the emergency ambulance arrives at the accident spot. In many cases, first aid during the golden hour has helped the accident victims to survive.
In all, it is advisable to practise handling your vehicle during a skid or a spinout situation in a safe environment or under an expert’s supervision for winter-ready driving. However, it isn’t enough unless each one of us considers emergency care and first aid training as part of safe driving and prevention from accidental deaths. So, get yourself trained for first aid and always remember to call 108 operated by Ziqitza Healthcare in case of emergencies to increase the possibilities of survival of the victims.