We’ve had quite a few cold snaps in recent weeks and there’s undoubtedly freezing weather ahead. It can be a dangerous time for Ireland’s motorists, with increased chances of incidents when visibility is poor, road conditions are slippy and perhaps your concentration is affected by the cold.
So how can you prepare for the worst and avoid (or reduce the impact of) a costly accident?
Prepare a safety kit in your boot – you’ll need a high visibility vest, hazard warning triangle, spare clothes and outdoor footwear, tow rope, spare fuel and bulbs, a fire extinguisher, shovel, de-icing fluid, a first aid kit, torch and some food and water. And a good book wouldn’t go astray just in case.
Get your tyres and brakes checked before the bad weather hits – you could be in for a nasty shock. Regardless of modern safety systems, those thin bits of rubber are still the only physical connection you have with the road, and tyre tread depth should be at least 1.6mm
Check out the Road Safety Authority’s guide to tyre safety.
Always do a quick check of the essentials before you set off on a trip. Make sure your lights and indicators are working, fluids are topped up, and your windows are free of dirt or ice.
Always use your dipped headlights, even during the day, for maximum visibility. Doing so can help prevent nasty head-on collisions.
Watch out for black ice in areas shaded from the sun by trees, walls or other obstacles. Drive calmly – steer, accelerate and brake smoothly. If you find yourself skidding, ignore the urge to slam your foot on the brakes. Take your foot off the accelerator and wait for the skid to stop, and if your vehicle starts to spin then steer in the direction the car is sliding.