Christmas parties may not be the same this year, but the dangers of both drink driving and winter conditions are still as potent as ever.
Somerset County Council’s road safety team are reminding all motorists that consequences can be especially severe at this time of year, and that all road users should be sober and aware of road conditions.
You can keep your vehicle in good condition over the winter by doing some simple maintenance checks; ensuring that your lights are working, engine fluids such as oil are topped up, and making sure you have enough fuel for your journey. Also remember to check your tyres regularly.
The top tips from Somerset Road Safety are:
- Completely de-ice/mist the windows of your vehicle before driving off.
- Increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front – stopping distances can be 10 times longer in icy conditions.
- Mind your speed – the limit is not a target.
- Remember that not all roads are gritted. Take extra care when travelling on untreated roads and be aware that ice can still form on roads that have been treated.
- Use your lights so that other road users can see you.
Find out which roads in Somerset are gritted at www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting/. The daily gritting forecast can help drivers plan ahead, so be sure to check the latest via Twitter by following @TravelSomerset, and on www.travelsomerset.co.uk.
It is also important to remember that staying sober is just as important as being able to adapt to different conditions.
In terms of drink driving, the only thing that sobers anyone up is time. Coffee and breakfast can ease the feeling of a hangover, but they do not remove alcohol from the bloodstream.
In the lead up to Christmas Avon and Somerset Police are again running their Operation Tonic campaign, targeting intoxicated drivers in our area. If you suspect someone of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can report them at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/optonic. If you believe there is an immediate danger, then always dial 999.
Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways said: “It is more important than ever that we have a safe Christmas.
“Make sure your festive drinking is sensible and go alcohol-free if you have to drive anywhere. You should also ensure that your vehicle is in the best condition possible ahead of any journeys you have to make.”
Somerset Road Safety provides advice to thousands every year through educational events; they run Bikeability courses for school children and train School Crossing Patrols. For more information visit www.somersetroadsafety.org. You can also search for Somerset Road Safety on Facebook, @SCC_RoadSafety on Twitter and @somersetroadsafety on Instagram.