Home Health & Wellness Drivers Urged to Take Care as Wintry Showers and Ice Forecasted

Drivers Urged to Take Care as Wintry Showers and Ice Forecasted

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The Met Office forecasts a blast of snow and ice to hit the UK from 17th December to 26th December, which could present a challenge for millions driving home for Christmas. How can we ensure we are safe on the roads?

Andrew Bridges, director of professional services at Leightons Opticians, has shared five tips on staying safe while driving in icy conditions this Christmas:

1. Avoid unnecessary journeys 

“If conditions get particularly bad, the best thing you can do is stay at home and avoid driving altogether. Don’t make any unnecessary journeys. If you do have to drive, plan your route in advance to include as many major roads as possible.”

2. Avoid directing car vents towards your face

“During winter drives, frequent use of car heaters and air conditioning can increase tear evaporation, increasing the risk of dry eyes. To combat this, angle heating vents downward to reduce direct airflow.”

3. Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car at all times

“The sun is significantly lower in the sky during the winter months, and its presence, combined with frosted roads, can be a challenge for all of us. The risk of being dazzled when driving intensifies as the brightness of the sun is reflected and amplified by pure white snow and ice. Don’t forget to always keep a pair of sunglasses in the car. Only wear sunglasses when driving in bright sunlight. Do not wear sunglasses at night, twilight, or dusk.”

4. Ensure the windscreen is completely clean before driving

“For full visibility, make sure all snow, ice, or condensation is removed from inside and out of windscreens, windows, mirrors, and lights to ensure full visibility. Avoid rushing the defrosting process, which typically takes 10 to 15 minutes, to ensure safe driving conditions. Use a sun visor and keep the windscreen clean, inside and out, as dirt and greasy streaks can scatter light, compromising visibility.”

5. Maintain car functionality

“Taking the time for thorough preparations enhances safety on the road. Before embarking on long journeys, ensure your washer fluid is topped up and confirm the proper functioning of windscreen wipers, headlights, and fog lights.”

6. Ensure your eye health is in good condition

“With so much going on during the Christmas period, it’s far too easy to throw caution to the wind and prevent getting health problems checked. If advised by your optometrist, always wear your prescription spectacles or contact lenses when driving. Polarised sun lenses for driving during the day can be useful to eliminate glare and reflections from flat surfaces such as puddles on the road or snow. Make sure you keep a spare pair of contact lenses or spectacles in your glove box in case of loss or damage when you’re out and about. It’s important to remember you must not drive at night or in twilight with lenses having light transmission of less than 75% antireflection coatings on spectacle lenses that reduce unwanted glare when driving.”

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