Winter months mean we deal with various weather conditions– from wind, rain and ice to driving in the dark.
If you find yourself on the road where you have to tackle adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain or strong crosswinds, here is what to do to stay safe and to arrive at your destination safely.
DRIVING IN HEAVY RAIN
Wet roads can cause accidents and downpours can decrease visibility.
Be mindful of aquaplaning on roads where 100/120kmh speeds apply.
Aquaplaning occurs where the tyre tread fills with water, and the driver is at risk of losing control of the vehicle.
Having fully functional windscreen wipers goes without saying.
The same goes for tyres.
It takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads, so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the car in front.
Pay more attention when driving behind trucks or buses. They generate a considerable amount of spray, which can reduce your visibility.
Watch out for vulnerable road users.
Use dipped headlights and fog lights.
Don't attempt to drive through a flooded area.
If you have to, pull over safely and wait for the rain to stop, or at least slow down.
DRIVING IN HEAVY WINDS
Driving during heavy winds can be hazardous, even more so if you're driving in large open spaces.
Here's a few tips to keep you safe:
Slow down. Faster driving gives you a shorter amount of time to react to unpredictable road situations.
Keep both hands firmly on the wheel; this way, you have more control if you get blown off-course.
Give more room to other road users.
Take care when overtaking.
Park carefully so your car doesn't get damaged by the fallen branches, or trees.
If you have to, pull over safely and wait for the wind to calm down before continuing your journey.
DRIVING IN ICE
Ice can make roads across Ireland very dangerous.
Your tyres must be up to the task in icy and possibly snowy conditions.
Make sure you can see. Your lights must be clean and in working order.
Clear your windows and mirrors.
Carry a screen scraper and de-icer in your car.
Try to recognise “black ice” as it can lead to car accidents.
If the road looks polished or glossy, it could be "black ice". It is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle. You may notice it in sheltered or shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.
Make sure to monitor weather warnings so you can plan your trips ahead whenever possible.
In Preparation for Driving, You Should Also Ensure:
- That the vehicle is properly maintained, serviced, and engine oil viscosity is suitable for cold conditions
- That your vehicle has an adequate supply of fuel for the journey
- Consider carrying some salt or sand
- Give someone an estimated time of arrival at your proposed destination
- Carry a mobile phone and spare, fully charged, battery (if you don't have a car charger)
When it's time for new tyres or any auto repair and maintenance, find your nearest First Stop Tyres & Car Services Ireland centre. Drive safely!
*Source: Road Safety Authority