Avoiding winter car accidents: How safe is your car?
Adverse weather conditions can make driving in winter a risky business.
Ice on the roads causes skids and slippage, snowstorms impair vision and sub-zero temperatures can make your car become temperamental. You should always leave plenty of time to make any journeys and drive more slowly than usual in winter.
Leave plenty of space between you and other cars around you in case either you or they hit a patch of ice and skid. Be sure to check your car over frequently as you don't want to be the cause of an accident.
All cars must be fitted with seatbelts in the front by law, and most will have them in the back too. If you have children or frequent passengers, be sure your car has a proper shoulder belt in the middle of the back seat rather than just a lap belt.
Airbags will cushion the impact of a collision but can be dangerous to children under 12 so always seat them in the back where possible.
If you are planning on buying a new car this winter look for one with additional safety features such as ABS, all-wheel drive and electronic stability control. Generally heavier cars are safer for the occupants than lighter ones so it can be worth upgrading if you have a family.
If you do still find yourself skidding remember to ease off on the pedals and steer gently into the skid to slow it down.
In poor weather it is vital to pay attention not only to your own driving but also to anticipate what other cars may do. Don't ever get too close to another car if the roads are icy as you or they could easily skid and cause a collision.
Be especially wary of anyone driving at speed and remember that just because you drive safely doesn't mean you are safe from other drivers.
Don't let festive high spirits tempt you into having just one more drink for the road. Drink driving is dangerous at any time of year, but you especially need all your wits about you when the roads are iced over.
If you do find yourself a victim of someone else's careless driving this winter and suffer whiplash or any other medical injury, my recommendation is to contact a leading medical solicitor .