Winter driving safety tips and advice

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Galway bay FM Newsroom – As the first fall of snow hit most of the Country overnight , it may be a welcome sight to many as it gives us something new to talk about besides Covid19, but road safety officials want to remind road users to stay safe when they hit the roads when making that essential journey. The beginning of the winter season is often an adjustment period for drivers until they get used to driving in snow and ice again. This is especially true for newly licensed drivers who lack the experience, many it may be their first experience of driving in the snow or ice.

Many parents can relate to this worry as they try to past on their knowledge to not always very receptive ears.

“Even the best drivers need to change their driving habits in winter weather,” said Noel Gibbons road safety officer in the communications department of Mayo County Council. “Driving in winter weather can be intimidating and conditions can change very quickly. It’s imperative for drivers to know how to navigate during snowfall or icy conditions. Preparation is the key to avoiding a dangerous situation whilst driving in snowy or icy conditions.

Stay put .Stay home if you can do so and wait for conditions to improve before heading out.

Drive slower. Adjust your speed to account for lower traction when driving in ice and snow.

Increase your following distance: Increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the accelerator  slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Take plenty of time to slow down for a stoplight. 

Remove all snow from your vehicle before venturing out. Check the washer fluid level and completely clear your vehicle of snow and ice prior to driving, including all lights for visibility

Take caution on hills. Observe how other vehicles react and maintain a safe distance.

Operate your vehicle safely. Don’t use cruise control and make sure headlights are on.

Take extra caution on bridges and shaded areas. They freeze before roads.

Black ice: Transparent ice may form on the roadway. If you notice ice forming on any object, assume that it is forming on the road surface as well. Bridges are usually the first surfaces to freeze. Drive slowly and, if possible, avoid driving on icy surfaces. Gritted roads don’t equal ice free roads.