Driving in the winter season can be quite intimidating and challenging for many for various reasons; fluctuating Irish weather (many would argue we have this throughout the year), less daylight hours, long commutes which leads to tiredness – especially for those on their way to / from work (for those who must travel even during the current Covid-19 restrictions) often leads to avoidable accidents on our roads at this time.
Being prepared for every eventuality and small changes to your driving behaviour may help keep you and your fellow road users safer this year.
Get your car checked
One of the main tasks that should appear on our annual calendar at this time of year is getting your vehicle checked to ensure it is winter ready. Book your vehicle in to your local garage and give your car a bit of pampering to ensure it takes you safely through the winter season.
Get your mechanic to pay particular attention to the tyres (including the spare), lights, brakes (including the handbrake), and safety equipment you carry with you (shovel, blanket, hazard warning triangle, etc) as well as a general overall check of the basics – the wipers, indicators, hazard lights, windscreen check, oil & water). Mileage Tyres in Mullingar Business Park provide all of these services at attractive prices.
Now is also a good time to double check your breakdown cover policy with your insurance provider and ensure you have the correct emergency telephone number and your policy number stored in your telephone and in writing somewhere safe in your vehicle.
Make sure you plan your journey
Apart from making it standard practice to clean your windscreen and other important windows from ice / dirt before you set off on your travels, it’s always good practice to check online what the traffic situation is like before you head off on any driving trip and especially if you’re travelling to a place you’ve not been to before.
Factor in some extra time for comfort breaks and traffic build up. Calculate the driving time and make a note of the service stations in between, ensuring you schedule in a stop or two for rest, refreshment and bathroom breaks. However if you’re driving and fatigue takes over, pull in somewhere safe and take a 10 to 15 minute break from driving, ideally getting outside and stretching / walking for a few minutes if you can; or sleeping for 10 minutes, if you are really tired.
Driving in snow and ice
It won’t be long before we experience sleet, snow and ice along with the usual elements of wind and rain.
When driving in snow and ice, the best advice is to slow down, use gentle manoeuvres and adapt your driving to the weather. Keep in mind stopping distances are ten times longer in ice and snow.
If driving down a slope then reduce your speed before you reach the hill, use a low gear and avoid sudden braking.
Be aware, take care
It’s easy to let your mind wander when driving but try to remain observant at all times, more so during winter. The lack of proper daylight makes it difficult to see other road users properly.
While there may not be as many pedestrians or cycle users on the road in winter, remain on the lookout for these vulnerable road users and allow extra space when overtaking.
You’re also more likely to encounter breakdowns in winter. While there are some things you can do to avoid your own car breaking down, if the road ahead is partially blocked by a breakdown – slow down, overtake only when it is safe to do so, and use your hazard warning lights to alert cars behind you to the obstruction.
Scrapes and bumps
From time to time, your car may fall victim to a scrape or bump. Martin Hope Crash Repairs in Lynn, Mullingar is your one-stop shop for panel beating, crash repairs or re-sprays.
Keenan Bauer Motors
Since their establishment in Westmeath, Keenan Bauer Motors has earned itself a tradition of value for money and total dedication to customer service.
They stock a comprehensive range of Citroen, Honda and Mitsubishi Vehicles. If you are looking for a particular model, you’ll probably be able to sit in it when you visit their modern state of the art showroom at Lough Sheever Corporate Park, Mullingar. If you are not sure what you are looking for, they have an extensive range of models to help you chose the right vehicle for your needs.
Dress for the Occasion
Make sure you dress warmly in winter and pay particular attention to your footwear when travelling, especially if you’re driving. Be aware that the shoes you wore to work could have become wet from rain or snow, thereby increasing the risk that they could slip off the foot pedals in your car. Keep a pair of flat shoes in your car and use these only for driving.That way you will be comfortable and safe also.
Winter Motoring Check List
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) top ten tips for winter driving are:
1. Check your tyres
2. Use your lights. Headlights and rear lights should be in working order.
3. Keep a Safe Distance. It takes longer to stop a car during the winter.
4. Make sure you can clearly see. All too often motorists do not de-fog or de-ice windows and mirrors which can compromise visibility.
5. Beware of “Black Ice”.
6. Be prepared. Carry the following:
1) High visibility vest
2) Spare fuel
3) Appropriate footwear in case you need to leave your vehicle e.g. boots
4) A hazard warning triangle
5) Make sure your mobile phone is charged
6) Tow Rope
7) A shovel
8) De-icing equipment (for glass and door locks)
9) Spare bulbs
10) First aid kit
11) A fire extinguisher
12) A working torch
13) A car blanket, additional clothing & some food and water