Road safety: adapting your driving in winter

The significant decrease in daylight, negative temperatures, snow and the risk of ice are situations that every road user must anticipate in order to travel safely.

Tips to spend this very special period in complete safety

1) Check weather and traffic forecasts

Before departure, it is essential to be well informed about traffic conditions and weather conditions: or 0800.100.200 (free call from landline) for the entire national road network.

While traveling, follow safety advice broadcast over the airwaves and on variable message signs.

2) Mandatory winter gear in Haute-Loire

As of November 1, winter gear is again mandatory in Haute-Loire. The equipment obligation applies to light and utility vehicles, motorhomes, heavy goods vehicles and buses plying throughout the department.

To learn everything about the provisions in force, you can consult the following infographic or click on the following link:

3) Test cold-sensitive elements

The battery, ignition and fuel system are cold-sensitive components that should be tested before driving. It is also necessary to check the level of antifreeze washer fluid and the quality of the wiper blades, which deteriorate even more under the effect of frost.

4) Get a “cold survival kit”

Driving in low temperatures means exposure to difficult situations in the event of a forced stop. It is therefore wise to carry additional accessories that can be very useful: a scraper for an icy windshield, a cloth for cleaning fogged windows and smudged headlights, spare bulbs, a flashlight, warm clothes , a survival blanket and plenty of water in case of prolonged immobilization.

5) See well and be seen well

In winter, regardless of the time of day, the brightness is generally weaker and the perception of the environment more difficult. It is therefore necessary to be especially attentive to vulnerable users (bicycle drivers, often with poor lighting, two-wheeler motorcyclists or pedestrians generally dressed in the dark in this season). If the visibility is less than 50 meters, the speed must not exceed 50 km/h, regardless of the condition of the road surface. It is also advisable to switch on dipped headlights as soon as the lighting is insufficient to be seen clearly by other road users.

6) Travel slowly

In very cold weather, you should drive slowly and therefore allow more time to move: very often, slips occur when the driver drives too fast given the condition of the road surface.

7) Extend safety distances and adopt flexible driving

On slippery surfaces, do not hesitate to significantly widen the safety distances. Premature overtaking, sudden acceleration or sudden braking are all risks of losing control of the vehicle in the event of ice.

8) Never run a winter service machine

Overtaking the winter service vehicle in action is prohibited for any motorized vehicle.

9) When winter time comes, visibility is limited earlier in the day.

You see others, but do they see you?

The risk of having a fatal accident at dusk is 7 times greater than the risk during the day.

PEDESTRIANS : outside urban areas, be visible! Wear clothing that is light-colored and/or equipped with reflective strips.

Cyclists : check your equipment (mandatory or not) and use it!

Your bike must be equipped with:

• in front of a white light and a reflector,

• after a red light and a red reflector,

• on each orange reflector pedal,

• and on each wheel of orange reflectors.

Users of electric scooters, one-wheelers, Segways, hoverboards, etc.

Your car must be equipped, day and night, with front and rear position lights, as well as rear and side reflectors.

At night or when visibility is reduced, inside and outside built-up areas, you should wear reflective clothing (which remains highly recommended the rest of the time, so don’t hesitate: adopt it in all circumstances!)

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