As we all know we don’t get the most extreme weather here in Ireland in comparison to other European countries, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to be prepared for hazardous conditions on the roads.
It is very important to understand the potential hazards on our roads and be prepared to handle them in the safest way possible, especially during colder months.
Preparing to Drive on Ice
We are advised to drive only when necessary when the weather is bad, but sometimes this is unavoidable. If you must get behind the wheel you need to be prepared.
- Supplies – Always have supplies in the car, including a blanket or warm clothes, food and water, a flashlight, an ice scraper and a first aid kit. You will be grateful if you do happen to break down in freezing weather.
- Fuel – The last you need to worry about is running out of fuel and being stuck at the side of the road with an empty fuel tank!
- Tyre Thread – It is important to keep an eye on your tyres. Tyre thread need to be a minimum of 3mm to provide grip. If you want to be extra safe it might be worth investing in winter tyres for your vehicle.
Driving on Ice Safely
Once you are sure you have prepared your vehicle and yourself, you need to learn how to drive safely on icy roads.
- Care & Attention – If you drive attentively and slowly you will reduce your chances of skidding. It is important to leave bigger gaps between vehicles, this reduces the risk of collision when someone skidded when braking.
- Major Roads – Main roads are often busier and there is greater chance of less risk due to the volume of cars that may have driven on it already. These roads are also more likely to have been gritted.
- Windscreen – Clear your windscreen before you go anywhere! You may be tempted to just clear the driver’s side of the windscreen, but it is extremely important to clear the entire windscreen.
- Stay Calm – If you skid the worst thing you can do is panic and slam the brakes. Slowly lift your food off the accelerator and allow the car to slow down gradually. And if you steer into the skid this will naturally straighten the car.