Safe driving is everybody’s responsibility. To combat the short days and long dark evenings motorists must take extra precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of others. Why is this? A stand out feature in Ireland is the abundance of wind and rain we receive annually combated with the lack of temperate extremes. Our geographical location means that we suffer the full effects of the Atlantic Ocean. This is topped then by harsh northerly weather systems that batter Ireland without mercy. In the winter months these forces are felt the most. As a result, safe driving can be all the more challenging. To combat the elements drivers must take extra precautions to.
Here are out top tips and advise to ensure you stay safe this winter.
- Use your Lights Day and Night. You should use your dipped headlights during the day. Check regularly that your headlights and tail lights are in working order.
- Review your Tyres Regularly. By law tyres should be of a minimum depth of 1.6mm and should be changed before they are worn. Check your car manual or local garage to ensure they are at the correct tyre pressure. They are your only contact with the road.
- Safe Driving Distance. Winter weather means longer stopping distances. Roads are wet and slippery. Give yourself extra distance between you and the car that is in front of you. .
- Understand your Brakes. Find out if your car uses Anti-Lock systems or Electronic Stability Control Systems. Each works differently and should be understood by the user.
- Be sure you can Clearly See. Safe driving also involves proper preparation. Frosted cars, glazed windows and condensation build up can be major visual obstructions in the morning times. Use de-icer, screen guards, scrapers and towels to avoid this. Do not use boiling water as this can crack the windscreen.
- Black Ice. Although it is not actually the colour black. Black ice is a major peril of the winter months. This thin clear layer of ice builds up on surfaces such as roads and footpaths. It is the root cause of many accidents. To avoid black ice it is best to know how and when to spot it. Watch out for shaded and sheltered areas, areas with over tree hangings or places that do not get too much sun in the morning.
- Keep up to Date. Listen to local weather and traffic reports for weather warnings and road blocks alerting drivers of unsafe and dangerous driving conditions.
- Watch out for Cyclists. The numbers cycling fatalities on Irish roads increased by 50% from 2016 – 2017. Cyclists have the right to be on the road. Therefore, it is both motorists and the cyclist’s duty to be mindful of one another on the roads. Especially in the winter months drivers need to properly observe what is happening around them.
We have also included a comprehensive guide on motorway break downs and what essentials you should have in your boot. Knowing correct procedure and having the right tools can make all the difference during challenging situations.
Breaking down on the Motorway. If the worst happens the driver should do the following to ensure the safety of the occupants of the car and other drivers. Pull in as far as you can, turn on your hazards to alert oncoming traffic, use your hazard triangle, leave the car, get behind the embankment and call the Gardaí. They will advise you from there.
Be Prepared. Plan for any Situation. It is advised that motorists carry essentials in the boot of their car.
- Carry a High Visibility Vest
- Have spare fuel
- Suitable footwear such as boats if you need to leave the car.
- A hazard warning triangle
- Spare wheel ( check condition of wheel and pressure regularly)
- Tow Rope
- A shovel
- De-icer tools
- Spare bulbs
- First aid kit
- A fire extinguisher
- A torch
- A car blanket, additional clothing & some food and water
We’ve got safe motoring covered!!
For competitive private car insurance and commercial motor quotes, call Munstergroup Insurance 065 6841766.