Christmas Journey Planning Advice from RoSPA

The British Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is
encouraging people to brush up on winter driving tips before setting out for
their Christmas journeys over the next week.

The safety charity has a winter driving factsheet available online, covering a
range of weather issues drivers need to think about, including snow, ice, fog
and winter sun.

Drivers embarking on long trips might also find RoSPA's Safer Journey Planner
helpful - a factsheet which has tips for planning long journeys (see

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of
Accidents, said: "Safer winter driving is about good preparation - making sure
that you are in a good state to drive, that your vehicle is in a good condition
and that you've planned your journey.

"As well as understanding how the weather can affect driving conditions, it's
also important that drivers are mindful of the danger of getting behind the
wheel when they are tired. Tired drivers are much more likely to have an
accident, and the crash is likely to be severe because a drowsy or sleeping
driver does not usually brake or swerve before the impact.

"Many people will be travelling long distances this Christmas, so we encourage
them to plan their journeys in advance. Consider when to drive, which might
mean avoiding driving in the early hours of the morning, when you have had less
sleep than normal, or in mid-afternoon after eating a large meal - all peak
times for sleep-related accidents. Also, remember to plan in rest stops."

Even though some parts of the country are already experiencing their first snow
of the winter, it is not too late to think about whether your car is ready for
this time of year. RoSPA's advice includes:

  • Check your lights are clean and working

  • Keep the windscreen and windows clean and the washer bottle filled with
    screenwash to the correct concentration

  • Items to carry in the car include de-icing equipment, a first aid kit (in good
    order) and a working torch

  • Think about whether you could cope if you got stuck in snow. You might want to
    carry a blanket, a pair of boots, a shovel, a high-visibility jacket and a
    mobile phone (although don't use it when you're driving).

Kevin Clinton said: "If weather conditions are very bad, avoid making your
journey unless it is absolutely necessary. If you do head out in snow or icy
conditions, remember that good observation is essential. You should always aim
to brake, steer and change gear as smoothly as possible so as not to affect the
grip of your tyres on the road surface. And, of course, watch your speed and
keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front."

Further info - Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents