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PCC urges drivers to be cautious as lockdown lifts

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, is urging motorists to be cautious as we move from the present restrictions to Tier 2 restrictions. Wet, colder weather and dark nights can cause difficult driving conditions.

Speaking on driving, PCC Peter McCall, said: “The darker nights have drawn in quickly and, as we have all been in lockdown since just after the clocks where turned back, most of us will not be climatised to driving in the dark.

“Dark nights and mornings limit our field of vision and we can’t see as far ahead as we can during the summer months, so it is essential that we drive more carefully and follow the rules of the road to best avoid dangerous or fatal accidents.

“Often the wet weather can create unseen surface water and even flooding these can potentially be incredibly dangerous for drivers.

“However; despite COVID-19, many of us still cannot work from home and need to travel.

“If the journey is essential please drive to the conditions of the road: drive at an appropriate speed, always wear your seatbelt and do not use a mobile phone. Take your time as well if the weather conditions are inclement then allow longer for your journey.  Always think before you travel.

“Although this year we will have to spent it differently due to Coronavirus, December is a time for festivities, happiness and hope – please do not risk this and your life for the sake of arriving somewhere five minutes sooner.  It is simply not worth it.

“Stay safe, drive to the conditions of the road and enjoy the festive season.”

Inspector Steve Minnikin, from Cumbria Constabulary’s Mobile Support Group, said:

“It is important that motorists amend their driving style to changing weather and lighting conditions, specifically during winter months when road conditions can be challenging.

“Give yourself extra time in the morning to make sure your vehicle is ready, on icy mornings make sure your windscreen is clear.

“Driving without a clear windscreen is illegal.

“Use an overnight windscreen shield, a good quality de-icer and a scraper.

“We advise that you don’t use boiling hot water to pour onto your windows, as many windscreens will shatter due to the large difference in temperature.

“Stay with your vehicle as you defrost it, don’t be tempted to leave it on the drive running in order to prevent any theft.

“When on the road drive slower and prepare for possible hazards such as black ice which isn’t always visible, and a low sun can present visibility issues.

“Increase your braking distance, brake earlier and more gently if you can.

“If you skid, take your foot off the brake and re-apply the brakes, keep doing so whilst steering otherwise you will just continue to skid straight ahead.

“Drivers should also take responsibility of their vehicle; it is a legal requirement that your vehicle is road worthy.

“There are simple checks you can make of your vehicle such as checking your tyres and windscreen fluid levels.

“Our advice is always to drive to arrive and not take any unnecessary risks.

“We urge pedestrians, cyclists and other road users to also be aware that vehicles may not see them as easily as normal and to make themselves as visible as possible through fluorescent and reflective clothing.

“We all have a duty to look after each other when using the roads, the vast majority of these collisions we can avoid by taking just a little more care.

“Ask yourself, do you need to make that journey particularly in areas of heavy snowfall or very low temperatures. Pack a shovel, road-salt, extra clothing, a flask and food just in case.”

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