Posted: 30-11-2016 In: Driving News
If you’ve booked an appointment for a practical driving test in the next few months, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time studying and practicing, right? Chances are good that, whether you stick to your current test date or find DSA driving test cancellations to get an earlier date, you may be driving in some wintry conditions.
New drivers often have enough difficulty passing the driving test, even in the best of conditions, without worrying about potential winter weather hazards. At the same time, if you can avoid it, you don’t want to put off taking the test any longer than you absolutely have to. Plus, after you get your license, you will have to drive in less-than-ideal situations fairly frequently, especially if you’re driving in the winter.
So, instead of worrying or delaying your driving test, why not learn a few simple and effective tips for driving safely all winter long?
How’s Your Visibility?
First off, aside from any other hazards and problems, the days are shorter in winter, and it can get very dark even before the sun has fully set. As you practise driving this winter, always check to ensure that your lights are on at night, in the early mornings and evenings, and whenever it’s raining or snowing.
If other drivers can’t see you, you could easily cause a hazardous situation. Plus, if you practise this good winter driving behaviour, when you take your driving test you’ll automatically remember to turn your lights on if it’s raining, snowing, or if visibility is decreased for any reason.
When in Doubt, Slow Down
You don’t necessarily have to creep along at a snail’s pace, but when you drive in the winter, you may want to keep your speed down a bit. Patches of ice can be disastrous, and you never know when there’ll be a slow-down ahead of you. So, as you practise driving in wintry conditions, remember to obey speed limits and keep your speed down whenever you are unsure of the conditions.
Your examiner won’t punish you for driving at a safe speed that’s slightly below the speed limit if the conditions call for it, but they will fail you for driving too fast in poor conditions. So, while you wait to hear about any DSA driving test cancellations that could move your test date up, practise driving at slightly reduced speeds for winter conditions.
Know When to Use Your Fog Lights
According to the Highway Code, you must turn your lights on whenever visibility is less than 100 metres. However, this does not mean that you should turn your fog lights on immediately. In fact, you should only use fog lights when visibility is decreased due to foggy conditions. This is more likely to happen during the winter than at any other time of the year, so be aware of how to use your vehicle’s fog lights and when to use them so that you do not blind other drivers or unnecessarily reduce your visibility.
Also, it’s important to note that it is actually against the law to drive with your fog lights on when visibility is not significantly reduced. So, if you’re taking your practical driving test and it begins to lightly rain or drizzle, just turn on your regular headlights and leave your fog lights alone. Otherwise, you could be looking at a negative mark on your test.
Keep Your Windscreen Clear with Anti-Freeze
During the winter, you can reduce the amount of time you have to spend sitting and waiting for your windscreen to defrost by keeping a spray bottle of anti-freeze in your vehicle. Just spray this over an iced-up windscreen and/or windows, and you’ll soon be on your way with a clear view of the road. Do not attempt to drive before you can see clearly in every direction, though, as this can cause major safety issues.
Be cautious as you practise driving this winter, but don’t worry. If you follow these tips and practise safe driving habits, you should have no trouble passing your driving test at any point in the winter. And, if you want to take your test early, check out how Driving Test Finder can find DSA driving test cancellations to move your appointment to an earlier date.