Road may appear safe but can still be dangerous
As the country enters an exceptionally cold spell this week, with the worst of the weather yet to come, Brokers Ireland advised motorists of a number of small practical steps to help get safely through the bad weather and avoid the trauma of an accident.
Cathie Shannon, Director of General Insurance Services at the organization, which represents 1,250 Broker firms, advised drivers to familiarize themselves with the detail of their car insurance policies and emergency numbers, in the event of a breakdown.
“Having your phone fully charged is useful should you need to call for assistance, particularly where long delays may occur,” she said.
Ensuring tyre pressure is at the correct levels, as recommended by manufacturers, is simple to do and can be very helpful in reducing the risk of an accident.
“Cold weather can decrease tyre pressure. It’s also important to know that front-wheel drive vehicles have greater grip, they handle ice and snow better than rear-wheel drives. Rear-wheel drive cars are more prone to skidding,” she said. “Carrying weight in your boot can help somewhat by putting additional weight on the back tyres.”
“If you drive an automatic car, check the detail in the manual to find the override function, manual gears being safer in adverse weather conditions.
Tyre depth should be about 3mm, she said. “Worn tyres are particularly hazardous in ice and snow.”
Ms Shannon advised consumers to plan journeys well and, where possible, use main routes which are more likely to be gritted and endeavour to avoid secondary roads and high ground as much as possible.
Brokers Ireland also advised motorists:
· Not to use very hot or boiling water to clear windscreens, as it can crack the glass
· Check the car’s coolant or antifreeze levels
· Clean lights and make sure they are working
· Keep fuel topped up to cover long delays
· Remember stopping distance can be increased ten-fold during ice and snow, so make allowance for that
· Carry a winter survival kit, including a high-vis jacket and reflective warning triangles
· Be ever more conscious of, and generous to, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.