Winter Driving Safety Tips

Cold weather, slippery roads, and reduced daylight make driving during the winter season more challenging than at any other time of the year. Here at First Stop Tyres and Car Services Ireland, we pulled together a list of driving tips to keep you safe on Irish roads this winter.

Can You See?

Use dipped headlights so that others will see you, even during the daytime.  Don’t wait for darkness! Are your headlights and taillights in working order? Check and replace broken bulbs. Keep your lights clear off frost and snow.

If your headlights have steam on their interior or are beginning to yellow, then it’s probably time to replace them.

Keep a safe distance when winter driving

Slow down and remain a safe distance behind the car in front of you. Gently does it! Use all controls delicately. Too much steering is bad. Avoid harsh braking and harsh acceleration. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin.

Select a low gear when travelling downhill. Watch out for "black ice." If the road looks polished or glossy, it could be "black ice”, one of winter's worst hazards.

Keep an eye on untreated and less frequently used roads. 

Get a Grip

Your tyres matter all year round, but even more so in winter driving conditions, so make sure they’re up to the task. Check your tyre tread depth regularly, and that the tyres are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Lack of grip can occur even on treated roads so drive slowly, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking. Proper tyre pressure is crucial when driving in winter weather conditions. Replace tyres if necessary.

Check your Battery

Winter driving can be more draining on your car battery as your engine has to work harder in winter. There is a greater risk that the battery may discharge or be damaged. Why is that? The engine needs more power to start, and devices requiring battery power are often used -foglights, headlights, and heating.

If you can, avoid multiple short journeys, since the batteries only begin to recharge after 30 or 35 kilometres.

Extra tip: prolong your car battery life by turning off lights and the radio at the end of your journey.

Be Prepared

Do you carry spare fuel or a shovel in your car? If you want to be ready for any winter scenario, then you should!

The Road Safety Authority and Garda advise having the following in the boot of your car during prolonged icy or snowy conditions:

  • High visibility vest
  • Tow rope
  • Spare bulbs 
  • Spare fuel
  • A shovel
  • Appropriate footwear in case you have to leave your vehicle
  • A hazard warning triangle
  • Spare wheel (with a tyre at the correct pressure and tread)
  • De-icing equipment
  • First aid kit
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A working torch
  • A car blanket, additional clothing, and some food and water

Extra tip: Be winter ready! Check the weather before leaving the house by listening to the radio's weather forecast.

We hope you stay safe on the roads this winter. And when it’s time for your car service or new tyres, find your nearest First Stop Tyres & Car Services Ireland depot. Drive safely!