Driving safely is a must all year round, but of all times, it’s incredibly important to drive with the utmost care and attention during the Winter. The combination of long, dark nights and adverse weather conditions make a journey potentially more dangerous. On average 190 people die on Ireland’s roads every year. This number becomes more shocking when we hear that roughly 15% of Irish drivers revealed they have been involved in a car accident during the Winter. It’s not only the harsh weather that can increase people’s chances of being in an accident, some people end up spending more time on the roads during the colder months. So, it’s crucial that you take extra precautions when you’re behind the wheel during the Winter.
Here are some Winter driving tips to help you stay safe over the coming months.
Where possible it would be best to avoid driving in foggy conditions unless it’s necessary. If it cannot be avoided, then the minimum requirement when driving in the fog is to switch on your headlights and fog lamps to improve visibility. You should never be tempted to “hang on” to the car in front of you. This is a dangerous driving technique, but it is even more dangerous in the fog as you may get too close to the car in front of you preventing you from breaking safely.
When the roads are wet make sure to leave at least double the gap between your vehicle and the car in front of you. Stopping distances increase greatly due to the extra water on the surface and they are far bigger than you would normally expect in dry conditions.
Snow and Ice:
We may not experience a proper “White Winter” in Ireland but we can experience Snow & Ice, so car should be taken when driving in these conditions. You should avoid breaking suddenly. Instead, reduce your speed smoothly and gradually. Drive significantly slower than normal. This will greatly reduce your chance of skidding. Extra care should be taken when approaching bends and corners. There may be Black Ice on the road in bends and corners due to their reduced exposure to sunlight. If you lose control, don’t panic. This may go against all your natural instincts, but it is important to not panic as it’ll help you make rational decisions. Take your foot off the accelerator, making sure to keep your wheels positioned in the direction you want to go in. Once you have control on the vehicle again, pull away in second gear easing your foot off the clutch to avoid wheel-spin.
These are some tips for safe driving during the Winter months. Implementing those tips will help you prepare your car to tackle the coming months.
Accidents can happen any time of year and are even more frequent in Winter, but FBD Insurance advisors are available 24 hours a day to take details of your claim and advise you on what to do next. You can also get 24-hour breakdown assistance and a courtesy car for 7 days on their Comprehensive Car Insurance allowing you to enjoy the festive.