Yearly Archives: 2016

Safety Tips for Current Weather Conditions

wf-014After glimmers of milder weather recently, it looks like parts of the country could be set for some more wintry conditions. 


Weather can be unpredictable and bad weather can strike suddenly so the best advice when severe weather hits is to stay off the road. If your journey is absolutely necessary, make sure you are prepared for the conditions. Check the local and national weather forecasts for travel information.


It may be warm and comfortable in your vehicle, but outside hail, snow, fog and heavy rain all make roads dangerous. It is important to change the way you drive to fit the weather.


Snow or Ice
• Drive slowly, allowing extra time and space for braking. It can take up to ten times longer to stop when roads are icy rather than dry.
• Hail, heavy snow and rain reduce visibility so use dipped headlights and reduce your speed.
• Use the highest gear that you can (for example, second gear rather than first). This will help avoid wheel spin that could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
• Avoid sudden braking, sharp turns, or sudden increases in speed.
• Black ice is an almost invisible threat. Be aware when driving round sheltered bends or corners which are shaded from the sun, as this is where black ice is most likely to be. Do not brake or make any sudden steering movements but do ease off the accelerator and proceed slowly and smoothly.
• Never get too close to gritting lorries or snowploughs.
• Please do not leave your car unattended with the engine running.


• Drive slowly and use dipped headlights so that other vehicles can see you.
• Use fog lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but switch them off when visibility improves.
• Don’t drive too close behind another vehicle to follow their rear lights – this gives you a false sense of security.
• Avoid sudden increases in speed. Fog is often patchy and you can suddenly find yourself back in thick fog.


• It can take up to twice as long to stop when roads are wet rather than dry. Keep well back from the vehicle in front of you. This will allow you to see better and give you more time to think and slow down.
• Your tyres may lose their grip on a road that is covered with water and your vehicle will ‘aquaplane’. If this happens, take your foot off the accelerator and slow down. Do not put your foot hard on the brake.
• Spray can make it hard to see. Slow down and keep your distance from other vehicles.


• Don’t try to cross floods if the water seems too deep. If water gets into the engine it may cause it to fail, which is an extremely costly problem to fix. If driving through a flood is unavoidable, drive slowly in first gear to avoid stalling the engine. Keep the engine revs high and slip the clutch if necessary.
• Avoid the deepest water, which is usually near the kerb.
• After you have gone through a flood, test your brakes. Only drive on at your usual speed if the brakes are fine.


If you get into trouble
• Do not use a mobile phone if you are driving. Stop somewhere safe, or ask a person with you to make the call.
• On a motorway you should use the emergency telephones by the side of the road. If you use a mobile phone, check where you are by looking at the markers on the posts at the side of the road.
• Stay with your vehicle until help comes. If you leave your vehicle, it might get in the way of snowploughs, ambulances and other emergency services.
• If you have to leave your vehicle to get help make sure other drivers can see you and tell other people where you are going.


For more information about safe driving please contact us on 01-419-8373 or click here.



Warning Signs of Driver Fatigue


Driver fatigue is becoming one of the main causes of vehicle incidents Ireland. Research indicates that one in every five crashes on Irish roads could be caused by driver fatigue. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) urge road users to be aware of the warning signs of driver fatigue, know the risks and keep yourself and your family safe.


Company car drivers are considered to be in one of the ‘at risk’ categories, due to the amount of time that these drivers typically spend on the road. Travelling long distances to appointments spread out over the day, covering a wide geographical area and a substantial workload will all increase the potential for driver tiredness. However, the impact of driving when fatigued cannot be underestimated. Tiredness related collisions are three times more likely to result in death or serious injury because of the high impact speed and lack of avoiding action. Such collisions typically occur when our body rhythms are at a natural low point during the early hours of the morning (for example between 2am and 6am) and between 3pm and 5pm in the afternoon.


There are a number of things that can be done to reduce driver fatigue levels. For example, if you are taking medication for hayfever, cold & flu symptoms, or other over-the-counter treatments, check that they are of the non-drowsy variety. Some of these such medications contain antihistamines which, whilst treating the required symptoms, can also cause sleepiness. Often, products which are packaged as sleep aids contain these same ingredients so ask the pharmacist if you are unsure and be sure to explain that you are a company car driver.


Another obvious consideration is the amount and quality of sleep that you get. If you begin the day tired, it is unlikely that you will feel anything other than tiredness throughout the working day. It is often difficult to make a lifestyle change to facilitate a better sleep pattern but it is also sometimes necessary. Things that can help aide a restful night’s sleep include:


  • Avoiding stimulants such as tea and coffee in the evenings
  • Avoiding food and alcohol just before bedtime
  • Ensuring that your bedroom is a restful place. Try to limit the amount of electronics in the room and don’t watch TV/use your phone or laptop just before trying to go to sleep.
  • Whilst exercising can be a great way to assist with sleep, try to avoid exercising just before bed.
  • Going to bed and getting up at the same time can help your body clock and assist in good quality and quantity of sleep.
  • Making a to-do-list can help if lack of sleep is caused by worry.


Planning and preparation can also reduce levels of fatigue. Be realistic about the journeys you have to do, plan them prior to setting off and allow time for sufficient breaks. If you have a long journey to complete, have several locations pinpointed for rest stops, where you can grab a coffee and take a break. Don’t ignore your need for a break just because you are ‘nearly there’. Many tiredness-related collisions happen within a few minutes of the driver’s destination, as the driver tends to relax and the body takes this as a signal for sleep. 


The above points are designed to prevent driver fatigue and tiredness but if you are feeling tired while driving, the following tips may help. Bear in mind that these are meant as emergency measures and should not be relied upon on an ongoing basis. 


  • Stop in a safe place when you feel tired. If you are on the motorway, take the next exit and find somewhere safe to stop. 
  • Drink at least one cup of strong coffee or other stimulant containing caffeine
  • Caffeine takes about 20 minutes to work so if possible, have a brief nap. Ensure that your vehicle is suitably locked and secured.


Click here for a link to some of the main motorway service and rest areas.


To find out more about driver safety, call us on 01-419-8373 or click here.



Skoda Set To Produce a 7-Seat SUV

wf-014Czech manufacturer, Skoda, is to announce plans for a seven-seat sports utility vehicle.

The car, currently called the Vision S concept, is to be shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March and is likely to be sold under the name ‘Kodiak’. No date has been set for production but it will probably be on sale in Ireland in 2017.

The car is the biggest of a new line-up of SUV’s being developed by Skoda, which is keen to broaden its appeal and take on established manufacturers who have done well with SUVs.

To find out more about the 7 seater options or the Skoda product range, call us on 01-419-8373 or click here.





In Review – New Hyundai Tucson



Hyundai is shifting its compact SUV/Crossover, the Tucson, to the higher ground. It used to be called the ix35. Before that it was Tucson. Now it’s back to Tucson again.


However, moving is not that simple. You’ve got to have the credentials and earn the credibility to stay there. And that means putting in some quality across the board. None of your cheap plastic and tinny sounding door closures allowed.So how does the Tucson shape up?


It certainly has the shape, size and appearance of the classic modern-day compact/crossover but it’s more macho to look at than the Nissan Qashqai. The latter is the one manufacturers all want to emulate but I don’t think they should all become clones of one another in the process.


I’m serious when I mention tinny-sounding door closures being a no-no. Cars like this have to look and feel solid and sturdy. I think the Tucson made the grade on that.


The big check-in area is the cabin. I had Premium (well up the trim table) with materials of good quality all around, especially the dash where these cars can really be caught out. All surfaces were well finished and there was minimal evidence of what I call the ‘grey plastic’ look.


One area many fall down on now is not having decent seat adjustment on the passenger’s side. The Tucson fails here. My compactly built travelling companion complained bitterly – not for the first time.


I, in contrast, was ensconced rather comfortably in an excellent driving position in a seat that seemed to suit me quite well.

There were three seats across the back, but the middle one was tight and tiny. They slide and fold and still leave a decent boot – and a proper spare wheel. Plus points.


The ix35 was/is a good car, well liked (always featured well up the top sellers). But there were areas needing a lot of improvement. The cabin was dull – now remedied by the Tucson. And it could be noisy. Hyundai’s worked on that now, dampening intrusion from the engine especially. I drove it quite hard at high revs for decent stretches and I did not complain.


Moving Tucson upmarket also means improving equipment and spec. A quick appraisal of its start-off spec shows it isn’t going to bother much with the ‘bargain basement entry-level’ nonsense that so many go on with just to get a price point.


Having air con, 16ins alloys, rear fog lights, Bluetooth with voice recognition, roof rack, rear parking assist, cruise control with speed limiter isn’t world beating but it’s a decent level. As you go up the trim levels there is no doubt about the sort of buyer they are after – those looking for lots of stuff aboard.


I wouldn’t give it top billing for on-road drive but it wouldn’t be far off. The 1.7-litre engine is well-tried, tested and improved and the overall ease of handling means I took it for granted rather than noticed it negatively.


It’s fair to say the Tucson is more an accomplished than exciting car. It had the feeling of a motor that, as I’ve said, you take for granted – always a good sign. If I’m correct, it has done what needed to be done to get this up another rung, or two, of the ladder.
Just like what KIA has done with its new Sportage (same stable) and Toyota with the RAV4 and (even a couple of years after launch) what Nissan did with the Qashqai. Welcome to Upmarket.


Facts & figures
Hyundai Tucson compact SUV/crossover. 1.7-diesel (115bhp, 119g/km, €200 road tax). Prices start at €25,245. Premium on test €31,995.
Standard spec includes air con, 16ins alloys, rear fog light, full-size spare wheel, cloth seats, USB, AUX, Bluetooth with voice recognition, roof rack, rear-park assist, cruise control/speed limiter.


Comfort Plus adds 17ins alloys, auto air con, front fogs, electric/folding mirror, electronic lumbar support. Executive adds sat nav, 8ins touch-screen, rear-view camera, leather upholstery, heated front seats. Premium adds panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers.

To find out more about the SUV/crossover segment, call us on 01-419-8373 or click here.


Source: ecunningham @ Irish Independent



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