Driving for winter - the Do's and Don'ts
These days in Ireland, It is no secret that we have fluctuating seasons, for example here we are in the depths of winter and we have already experienced a multitude of temperatures and unpredictable climate changes. While this incalculable weather may be difficult for people on foot, it can also be an extremely challenging time for drivers.
We are fortunate enough that we can drive in most weather conditions due to our relatively soft seasons. However, this is not to say that we do not have different extremes that can affect our road safety.
It is interesting to note that we do not have a necessity for winter tyres as we fall outside the climate extremities for them unlike most of Europe. Although we fall outside the average climate for winter tyres, we do occasionally experience those temperatures and have to adapt our normal tyres to suit.
Winter Tyres are designed to operate and perform better in winter weather conditions. There is no question that they have greater grip in icy weather conditions as their optimum performance is at temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius. These tyres are made from a softer compound to provide better grip in cold driving conditions. These tyres do not perform well in temperatures above 7 degrees, hence we simply do not have the constant conditions for this.
Here at Merrion Fleet, we understand that one does not need to be a vehicle expert to drive a vehicle, however, we all need to be experts on how we drive. With the help of our Merrion Fleet Accident Management Team, Driver Services Team, and various industry experts, we have compiled a helpful list of do’s and don’ts for driving in winter. Here are a few handy tips to help you be prepared for winter driving.
Don’t take the weather for granted, it can always change at the drop of a hat, be prepared.
Don’t leave breaking until the last minute, you cannot predict what the surface is like.
Don’t leave your tyres until they go bare, you never know when you will need them.
Don’t use your phone while driving
Don’t let your fuel go down too low, the winter is unpredictable and you don’t know if you will get stuck in traffic.
Don’t forget to check the bulbs in all your lights regularly, you will be depending on your lights a lot more in winter.
Don’t opt for back roads where possible.
If in doubt don’t take a chance in bad weather conditions.
Don’t rush, when we rush, we are not concentrating.
Give your vehicle a few seconds with the ignition on before powering up the vehicle on cold mornings
Slow down, in general everyone needs to slow down in winter.
Listen to regular weather forecasts, travel bulletins and any advice issued by An Garda Síochána and adjust your plans accordingly
Leave earlier in case of any adverse weather conditions that may cause a hold up.
Anticipate changes in temperatures and or precipitation and how this will affect your control on the vehicle
Have the following supplies in your vehicle;
High Vis vest
Food & water
Extra clothing (boots/wellies, coat, hat & gloves)
First aid kit,
Make sure you check your oil, coolant, tyres, and window wipers and water every week to avoid roadside disasters in adverse conditions.
Always have your phone charged in case of an emergency
Let somebody know where you are and an estimated time of arrival
Take public transport if you feel nervous driving in certain weather conditions
Be aware that other drivers may be nervous so give plenty of time and distance.
Driving for winter is all about being prepared. The most important thing for drivers is to be aware of the weather conditions and how they can affect your safety as well as the safety of other road users. Once you are aware of the potential risk and well prepared for every eventuality, winter driving should not be an issue.