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Advice from the Road Safety Authority

‘SAFETY TIPS’ FOR DRIVING IN SNOW AND ICE

Is Your Journey Absolutely Necessary? In extreme weather conditions you should ask yourself if making a journey by road is absolutely necessary. You might consider delaying your trip until the weather and road conditions improve. If using the roads in such conditions is unavoidable be prepared. The golden rule is to drive, cycle or walk with care and caution and expect the unexpected. Before setting off on a journey check to see if there are any problems on your intended route. Here are some useful links:

Is Your Vehicle Ready for winter? As the saying goes ‘Prevention is better than cure’, so take some time to prepare both your vehicle and yourself for the challenges of winter driving. Don't get caught out when severe weather strikes.

Your first step should be to get your vehicle serviced to ensure it is fit and safe for winter driving. Secondly you should carry out regular checks on the vehicle. You should:

  • check for wear and tear on wiper blades and replace them as soon as they start to smear rather than clean windows
  • keep tyre pressure at the manufacturer's recommended level and check you have at least 3 millimetres of tread depth
  • make sure all vehicle lights are working and clean and top up with anti-freeze and screen wash

Be Seen to Be Safe! When out on the road, walking especially in rural areas high visibility reflective clothing and lights are the only way to stay safe. As children make the journey to school often in the dark, make sure your child can be seen.

Tyres -Get a grip. Remember your only contact with the road surface is your tyres so it’s vital that they are up to the task in icy and snowy conditions. Check tyres, including spare wheel, and replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm. Check your tyres are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Drive slowly in the highest gear possible, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking. Replace tyres if necessary.

Make sure you can see . Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out, carry a screen scraper and de-icer. Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass. Replace windshield wiper blades if necessary. De-mist the inside of your windows thoroughly. Make sure your windshield washer system works and is full of an anti-icing fluid. The glare from the sun can be dazzling in the winter when the sun is low in the sky, so wear sunglasses in these conditions.

Check & use your lights . Use your dipped headlights so that others will see you. Make sure lights are clear of snow.

Driving - Gently does it . Manoeuvre gently, slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Too much steering is bad and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends. Falling snow, fog, rain, or hail will reduces visibility. Do not hang on to the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you as it can give a false sense of security. When you slow down, use your brakes so that the brake lights warn drivers behind you.

Watch out for "black ice." If the road looks polished or glossy it could be, "black ice” one of winters worst hazards: Black Ice is difficult to see! It is nearly invisible.


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LoCall 1890-252736 or 0761 001 608 | email oep@defence.ie