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The season’s first real frosts have appeared and the shortest day is looming so it’s becoming important for all of us to modify our road-use behaviour accordingly.
When driving on a frosty morning, remember that the hardest frost tends to arrive at daybreak, which comes later in winter. Make sure your windows are defrosted and clear of ice before you start your trip, then slow down and use your headlights. Leave a longer stopping distance between you and other vehicles and avoid sudden movements when accelerating, turning or braking.
Your usual route to work or school may be shorter, but it may also be icier. Be prepared to take a different route if conditions demand it – and if you can. Try to use main roads, which are treated with grit or calcium magnesium acetate and drive cautiously on suburban streets, particularly in shaded areas. If it’s possible, leave your trip until the sun is higher (if there is any sun!) – and check with your employer to see if you can arrive later on mornings when driving conditions are particularly hazardous.
If it is foggy or raining heavily, slow down and keep your headlights on. Use low beam as high beams may reflect off the fog, reducing visibility. In snow, drive only if you really need to and use tracks made by other cars where possible. Think about using the bus, or walking.
If you are cycling, ensure your lights are working and that you are wearing high-visibility clothing as it can be especially difficult to see cyclists in low light. Give drivers plenty of warning of your intention to change lanes or turn, and use cycle lanes if they are available to ensure all road users have as much room as possible.
If you are walking, use the right-hand side of the road/footpath (facing on-coming traffic) but on hilly streets, use the uphill side. It may also be a good idea to wear high-visibility clothing to ensure you are seen when crossing roads. Cross only at marked intersections, and if using headphones keep the volume down so you can hear the traffic movement around you.
Road conditions are updated regularly on the DCC website’s homepage, from 6am.