Winter is here, the temperatures are dropping, and this brings adverse driving conditions with it. Around 190 people die every year on Ireland’s roads highlighting the need for extra care to be taken especially over the Winter months. Before making any journey make sure your vehicle is Winter-ready.
In particularly bad conditions or when poor conditions are forecast ask yourself if the journey is completely necessary. The safer option may be to cancel or delay your original plans. If you must drive allow extra time for the journey and drive with extra caution.
Black Ice is very common over the Winter and therefore it is vital to ensure that your tyres adhere to the minimal legal requirements. The minimum legal thread depth for tyres is 1.6mm, however a minimum depth of 3mm is recommended for Winter driving.
A simple test with a €2 coin can check this. If you place the edge of the coin in the tyre’s thread and the outer, silver rim of coin is visible above the top of the thread then your tyre’s thread depth are less than 3mm. It may be time to consider changing them.
Increased levels of Fog and the wet conditions can cause a build-up of dirt on Headlights and Windscreens over the Winter months. Every driver should aim for a clear view of the road before any journey to prevent accidents. Headlights, Indicators and Break lights should all be cleaned before and after driving. If your wipers are worn now is a good time for them to be replaced so that they don’t smear your windscreen while driving.
The coolant and anti-freeze need to be topped up if they are low. They prevent damage to your engine especially in the morning when you first turn it on. The correct anti-freeze according to the manufacturers requirements needs to be used.
Extra distance needs to be left between you and the car in front of you. Breaking will take longer due to the icy conditions and a minimum of two car lengths is required between cars.
An Emergency kit should be packed during Winter months. This kit should contain a de-icer and scraper, shovel, demisting cloth, jump leads, torch, necessary medication, warning triangle, sand/ salt or other traction aid and so on. Extra blankets could also be packed in this kit for particularly cold conditions.
Accidents can happen any-time of year and are even more frequent in Winter but advisors are available 24 hours a day to take details of your car insurance claim and advise you on what to do next.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!