It's time to for all Donegal drivers to ensure your car is winter ready as we edge closer to the snow and ice season

Is your vehicle winter ready? Ask your nearest mechanic

Michelle NicPhaidin

Reporter:

Michelle NicPhaidin

Email:

michelle.nicphaidin@gmail.com

Winter ready

It is recommended you get your vehicle serviced before winter sets in to make sure it is ready for the conditions which will undoubtedly arrive in Donegal. There are a certain amount of things that you can do yourself. 

Here is a few tips and guidance from the Road Safety Authority on having your car #winterReady. 

  •  Lights - Make sure all your indicators and headlamps are clean and working
  •  Liquids - Make sure the water reservoir is up to the maximum mark and correctly mixed with anti-freeze. You may also need to top up your coolant and screen wash
  •  Oil - Check your dipstick and top up the oil if necessary. Look for signs of leakages on the ground under the car
  •  Electrics - Check your dashboard before and after starting the engine.  Listen for a weak battery and replace if necessary
  •  Windscreen wipers - you should clean them regularly and replace them every 12 months
  •  Tyres - Check your tyre treads and pressure, including the spare. While the minimum legal limit is 1.6mm, a minimum tread of 3mm is advised for winter driving
  •  Safety Assist - Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual and find out if it has any safety assist technology e.g. ABS

Always be prepared for any situation especially in winter. Have emergency equipment in your car. Among the items you should have in your car are: a high visibility vest, a hazard warning triangle, a torch with batteries - check it monthly, spare fuses and bulbs, de-icing equipment for both glass and door locks, a first aid kit, a map or a charged GPS, appropriate clothing and footwear in case you have to leave your vehicle, have a charged mobile phone and always have some food and drink.  All travel should be considered in line with current Government guidance

When planning a winter journey, you ought to consider is it necessary? And, do you need to travel by car. Can you wait to travel until the weather improves? If you really have to travel by road, be prepared for severe conditions and ensure your vehicle has a more than adequate supply of fuel for the journey.  If possible keep your fuel tank full in winter. Regularly check your emergency equipment. Allow extra time for journeys and drive with caution.  Let someone know your route and when you expect to arrive. Check ahead to see if there are any problems on your intended route before you leave.  Information is available from Transport Infrastructure Ireland, website https://traffic.tii.ie/ and you can follow them on Twitter @TIITraffic. 

You can also check the AA Roadwatch website www.aaroadwatch.ie or follow them on Twitter  @aaroadwatch.  Listen to TV or radio bulletins, check news websites and check the weather forecast.  Remember that the best road conditions are likely to occur between 10am and 4pm. If you do not know your route, and are using SatNav/GPS, be sure it does not bring you over a dangerous route, such as across mountainous terrain or along narrow back-roads, which may be hazardous due to snow and ice. e.g. Sally Gap, Co Wicklow or Barnesmore Gap in Donegal.  Do not rely totally on a SatNav/GPS, look at your route on a map. More detailed advice on using the roads in severe weather can be found on the severe weather advice area of the Road Safety Authority website www.rsa.ie/en/.  

Driving in hazardous conditions

Snow and ice will always be worse in mountainous areas and higher ground – try to route around such places. Information about road conditions, Incidents and other traffic related information is available on the TII Traffic Website https://traffic.tii.ie

If your business operates company-owned vehicles, or directs workers to use their personal vehicles for work purposes, see www.hsa.ie/eng/Vehicles_at_Work for Winter Driving Tips.

Hail is probably the greatest winter hazard for the driver: even if the road is salted hail will stay on the road. Be aware of weather forecasts indicating the possibility of hail. If you do encounter hail slow down but try not to brake

Beware of high sided vehicles in strong winds, particularly when overtaking. If you are driving a high sided vehicle try to anticipate exposed sections of roadway where winds will be stronger.

Beware of fallen trees or other debris and never drive through flooded roads, they could be deeper than you think. Find an alternative route. Always heed Garda or local authority road signs advising of a road closure or detour.

Leaving your vehicle is dangerous, wear a high visibility jacket and use your hazard lights to enable other traffic to avoid collision with your vehicle. However, on a motorway, it is safer to get out of your car and stand behind the safety barrier. Call for assistance immediately.