Drivers warned to prepare vehicles for winter

Irish drivers have been urged to get their vehicles ready for winter, or face uncomfortable, and even dangerous journeys in the cold.

Motoring experts from LeaseVan have released seven guidelines for Irish and British car and van drivers to winter-proof their vehicles, inside and out.

Driving on Irish roads from November onwards can be rough, but doing a little extra preparation and having useful items to hand will make travelling during the winter more pleasant.

A reassured, comfortable and focused motorist will drive better and safer; a prepared driver owner will not need to panic in the event of bad weather.

Tim Alcock from LeaseVan said: “In the run up to Christmas, it’s easy to get distracted and forget to prepare your vehicle for winter driving, but doing so means you’ll face uncomfortable, miserable and potentially dangerous journeys.

“We’ve put together some advice that any driver can use to avoid discomfort and distraction when driving in bad weather.”

1. Good wheels:

Ensure there is sufficient grip on every tyre to see the vehicle through winter journeys on slippery roads and have accessible wheel chains if travelling through the snow is necessary.

2. Tools:

It’s recommended that drivers keep a snow shovel in their vehicle in case the car or van gets stuck. A pair of sturdy walking boots is also a good idea, if shelter must be sought on foot.

3. Maintenance:

Extra care needs to be taken over the condition of vehicles during the winter months, so motorists should regularly check safety essentials like brakes and windscreen wipers.

4. Clear vision:

Leaving a vehicle parked anywhere during the winter months is an open invitation for a frozen windscreen, so make sure you have a can of de-icer to hand as well as a suitable scraper. It’s also a good idea to pack a cloth or old rag to wipe the glass from the inside, as having the heater on full blast will lead to condensation when the warmth meets the cold air from outside.

5. Keep fuelled:

It’s even more vital to keep on top of filling up with petrol or diesel in the winter, to avoid being left stranded in the cold – so aim to always have a quarter of the tank full.

Keeping yourself fuelled is equally as important and precautions should be taken in case of delays of breakdowns; keep a bottle of water in the car or van, hide an energy-filled snack such as a chocolate bar in the glovebox for emergencies, and on long journeys take a flask.

6. Warm clothes:

All drivers could be vulnerable to forgetfulness on a cold morning, so prepare for the worst weather by making sure there are gloves, a scarf, a hat and a thick pair of socks tucked away in your vehicle.

Should the heating or vehicle itself break down, it is also advisable to have a spare jumper, thermal blanket or chemical heat packs in the boot.

7. Accessories:

The best prepared Irish and British motorists will have their vehicle well stocked with useful items to see them through the winter.

A full portable phone charger is a glovebox essential in case of breakdown, an old-fashioned paper map is always an advisable back up to a sat-nav and a packet of tissues is a must to avoid distraction on the roads.

For a free tyre check, contact Kevin Burke Tyres, Galway 091 769636; Gort 091 632800 and Athenry 091 845329

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