1. Make sure your car is winter-ready
It’s important to care for your car and ensure it’s safe to drive, follow this checklist to ensure your car is ready for the weather ahead:
- Check your tyres: Winter tyres are not compulsory by law in Ireland but make sure that the tread and pressure are correct for optimal grip on the road. Tyres should have the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm.
- Get the battery checked: Did you know battery faults are the most common cause of winter breakdowns? If your battery is older than 5 years old, get it checked to avoid getting caught out in the cold temperatures.
- Check the wiper blades: Make sure they’re not cracked or rubbing so they’re effectively clearing your windscreen.
- Check headlamps, brake lights and indicators: Make sure they’re working and are clear of ice and snow.
2. Drive carefully
Winter weather can make driving very tricky. Here’s how you can be safe on the road:
- Slow down: This may seem obvious but it’s especially important when snow sticks on the road. As snow compacts and hardens, it makes the road surface slippery and ice can form.
- Increase your braking distance: It takes longer to stop on the road in rain and snow, so leave twice as much space between yourself and the car in front of you.
- Turn on your headlights: If the rain or snow is particularly heavy, make sure your headlights are on, even in daylight.
- What to do if your car slides: If you find yourself sliding, don’t panic and don’t use your brakes as this could make it worse. Instead, turn your wheels in the same direction you’re sliding and straighten the wheel as the car straightens.
3. Carry a safety kit in the boot
Did you know breakdowns are more common during the winter? Be prepared for whatever might come your way and pack a safety kit. Here’s what to include:
- Torch and matches
- Reflective triangles to place on the road
- Warm Clothing
- First aid kit
- High-vis vest or jacket
- Hat and gloves
- Shovel and ice scraper
- Extra antifreeze
- Water and snacks
4. Be prepared to take more time
When the weather is poor, people will drive more slowly. Be prepared for this and leave lots of time when you’re heading out. It’s always best to prioritise safety over punctuality so be patient with other drivers so that you’ll get where you’re going safely.
If the weather is extremely bad, try to stay off the road. If you must go out, remember all the above and take your time.
And don’t forget to make sure that your car is insured, explore our car insurance cover options.