The Road Safety Authority have issued a simple checklist on how to prepare for Winter Driving and I would ask everyone to just take a few moments to read the tips below and be prepared.
TOP 10 TIPS FOR WINTER DRIVING
Taking a number of simple precautions can ensure safety on Irish roads during winter. Don’t get caught out if severe weather hits, make the necessary checks on your vehicle now. There are a number of simple precautions the RSA advises for driving over the winter months:
- Get a Grip & Check your Tyres. They are your only contact with the road. Tyres should be at least the minimum legal thread depth of 1.6mm but need to be changed before they get this worn. Tyres need to be to the correct tyre pressure to give the motorist the best chance in extreme conditions.
- Check & Use your lights. As we come into the winter months, motorists are advised to use dipped head lights during the day so you are easily seen. Headlights and taillights should be in working order.
- Give yourself a ‘Brake. Know your braking distances. Ensure you know the stopping distance in different conditions such as rain, ice or snow.
- Keep a Safe Distance. It takes longer to stop a car during the winter weather so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the car in front. Watch out in particular for conditions such as fog or driving rain which can impede your vision and increase stopping distances.
- Make sure you can clearly see. All too often motorists do not de-fog or de-ice windows and mirrors which can compromise visibility. This winter ensure windows and mirrors are clear, and carry a de-icer and screen scraper. Never use boiling water as this can crack the windscreen. Be careful of the sun as its lower in the sky and the glare can be blinding particularly at junctions and roundabouts.
- Beware of “Black Ice. Black Ice is one of winter’s biggest hazards as it is difficult to see. Watch out for sheltered/ shaded areas on roads, under trees and near high walls.
- Be prepared. During these winter months it is advised that motorists carry a number of essentials in the boot of their car.
- High visibility vest
- Appropriate footwear in case you need to leave your vehicle e.g. boots
- A hazard warning triangle
- Spare wheel (Check that your spare wheel is in good condition and is fully inflated. Some cars may have an inflation repair kit instead of a spare wheel. Make sure that you know how to use it.)
- Fully charged phone in case of emergencies.
- In the event of a breakdown. Drivers need to ensure their vehicle is well in off the road so as not to obstruct other vehicles. The driver should also put on their hazard warning lights. If on a motorway section of road, pull over as far as you can onto the hard shoulder, leave your vehicle, get behind the barrier (on the embankment) and call the Gardaí, on their mobile phone or roadside telephone.
- Keep up to date. Listen to local weather and traffic reports. Pay heed to the weather warnings of unsafe and dangerous driving conditions.
- Slow Down. Speed is still the biggest killer on our roads and add speed to the winter weather conditions and you have a recipe for disaster.
If you want more information, check out the RSA’s website for more detailed advice on what to do if severe weather strikes.