This can cause difficulty in controlling the vehicle, less anticipation of unusual events and longer reaction times. In these conditions it is important that you have the tires, the windscreen wipers, headlights and brakes in perfect condition. Test them before starting up and then ensure that your passengers are properly secured in the vehicle, especially the children. The safest place for them to travel is in the middle of the back seat and for 3 to 4 year olds in a child seat facing backwards. The children taller than 135cms are well protected by an adult seatbelt so long as it is properly adjusted. Make sure that the seatbelt isn’t twisted and is a tight fit with the upper strap crossing the sternum and the middle of the collarbone and the lower strap over the pelvis. Use the booster seat if necessary. The seatbelt wrongly placed over the stomach can cause serious internal injuries even in low speed accidents.
Remember to take off children’s coats before adjusting the straps of the restraining system. They will be more comfortable as tightening the straps of a harness or seatbelt over thick outer wear can give a false impression of being tight which could be dangerous in an accident. The smallest children could slide down the seat causing internal injuries (submarining) or they could be freed from the harness and smash into the interior of car. It is best to dress them in a thin coat and fasten and adjust the harness correctly, then pace a blanket or a coat over them.
Think carefully about driving in bad weather but if you have to then think about this basic advice:
Don’t start the car until all the windows have cleared. To achieve this quickly, switch on the heater and the air conditioning together on dry, this will absorb the humidity on the windows quickly.
When the road is wet or it’s snowing, drive slowly and with a firm grip on the steering wheel, without speeding up and slowing down, preferably in a higher gear.
- Always use the dipped headlights: you will see and be seen much better. The latest models have daytime lights but it is still better to use dipped headlights when there is little natural light due to heavy rain, fog (if the fog is very thick then of course use your fog lights) or snow.
- Keep a safe distance and moderate your speed according to the traffic conditions, slowing down where necessary.
- Remember when the road is wet the stopping distance is longer and swerving quickly could cause you to lose control.
- Ensure that the temperature inside the vehicle is not too high it can cause drowsiness.
- Don’t risk crossing flooded speed humps or waterlogged areas. Not being able to judge the depth, it is impossible to see hidden potholes or undercurrents that could cause loss of control of the vehicle.
- If you have to travel in bad weather, try to do it in daylight and take any necessary equipment (a fully charged cell phone, food, water and blankets) in case of emergency.
- Getting annoyed serves no purpose apart from causing you to drive badly, staying calm in traffic hold ups helps you to concentrate on the road.
- If the conditions continue to deteriorate whilst driving, pull in somewhere safe and wait for an improvement.
At the MAPRE FOUNDATION we recommend that during adverse weather, before starting out on a trip, you check out the weather forecast and the road conditions. The safety of yourself and your passengers comes first.