Preparation key for road safety this winter

Preparing for winter usually involves a flurry of firewood deliveries, and we start pushing those summer clothes to the back of the closet in exchange for warmer layers. The preparation is all about keeping warm and comfortable, but this winter, I want to make sure that we are also preparing for winter driving conditions too.

The Council routinely works to ensure our roads are as safe as they can be for the icy, wet months. We work with property owners to keep the height of shelter belts in check so that they don’t block the sun from melting road ice. We also grit roads prone to ice build-up and monitor that correct signage is displayed throughout the district to warn drivers of the road conditions.

These activities play a vital role in keeping people safe, but with a devastating national road toll already exceeding what it was this time last year, it’s important that we are all working together to protect our community.

Being safe on the road has a lot to do with ensuring our vehicles are in proper working order.

When was the last time you took a good look at your tyres? In the winter months, their condition could be the difference between sticking to the road on a slippery corner or hydroplaning off it.

The minimum legal depth for tyre tread is 1.5 millimetres, but please remember that this is only the minimum. In reality, depth any less than three millimetres can drastically affect tyre performance, so if yours appear a little too worn, maybe it’s time to get them looked at and/or replaced. And while you’re at it, check that the tyres have enough air pressure.

Take a look under your hood as well. Cracked or worn hoses and belts can cause huge problems. You’ll want to make sure the battery is working correctly as well and that you’ve got your antifreeze sorted to help stop water in your radiator from freezing.

For full peace of mind, talk to your trusted mechanic.

A big determining factor for safety on the road is our behaviour. We’ve all heard the road safety messages, so now is the time to put them into action.

When it’s dark, foggy, you’re unfamiliar with the road, or it’s wet and slippery, please drive to the conditions. Always keep your distance from the car in front, put your lights on to help other drivers see you, and be aware that shaded parts of the road might not have had a chance for the ice to melt yet.

As always, it’s best to check what the weather and driving conditions will be like before setting off, especially for long trips - like the one you might be taking on the upcoming long weekend.

Let’s make sure that we all make it home safe on the roads this winter and make a conscious effort to be prepared and alert.​

Page reviewed: 23 May 2019 9:29am