After glimmers of milder weather recently, it looks like parts of the country could be set for some more wintry conditions.Â
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
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Hail, heavy snow and rain reduce visibility so use dipped headlights and reduce your speed.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Avoid sudden braking, sharp turns, or sudden increases in speed.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Never get too close to gritting lorries or snowploughs.
â€¢ Please do not leave your car unattended with the engine running.
â€¢ Drive slowly and use dipped headlights so that other vehicles can see you.
â€¢ Use fog lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but switch them off when visibility improves.
â€¢ Donâ€™t drive too close behind another vehicle to follow their rear lights â€“ this gives you a false sense of security.
â€¢ Avoid sudden increases in speed. Fog is often patchy and you can suddenly find yourself back in thick fog.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ Your tyres may lose their grip on a road that is covered with water and your vehicle will â€˜aquaplaneâ€™. If this happens, take your foot off the accelerator and slow down. Do not put your foot hard on the brake.
â€¢ Spray can make it hard to see. Slow down and keep your distance from other vehicles.
â€¢ Donâ€™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.
â€¢ Avoid the deepest water, which is usually near the kerb.
â€¢ 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
â€¢ Do not use a mobile phone if you are driving. Stop somewhere safe, or ask a person with you to make the call.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ 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.