As the colder, darker weather descends, we are reminded that all drivers should prepare before setting out on the road after the clocks have gone back. The combination of longer hours of darkness and tougher driving conditions that can further reduce visibility means that drivers need to be extra vigilant during this period, says mobility solutions specialist, easytrip, Ireland’s only electronic parking and tolling tag provider.
Vehicle check: before the onset of wintry weather, check your lights, your oil and anti-freeze levels, your wiper blade condition, water levels, and your tyres for any bulges or small cuts – don’t forget to check the spare tyre.
Be safe, be seen: use dipped lights even before darkness has fallen when following other vehicles and in built-up areas.
Watch out for motorcyclists and cyclists: leave space for cyclists and be prepared for the fact that cyclists may not have sufficient lighting or have high visibility clothing on.
Overtaking: it is more difficult to judge a safe gap in the dark so don’t overtake unless you are absolutely certain it is safe to do so – particularly on motorways.
Be aware of pedestrians: particularly in poorly lit areas, and pay particular attention to children that may be walking to and from school.
Driving in fog or heavy rain: switch on your fog lights and drive slowly when visibility is poor. Turn on your hazard lights if necessary to alert drivers following behind.
Keep your distance: always remember to keep the recommended distance between you and the car in front - two seconds in dry conditions and four seconds in wet.
“As we head into the winter the evenings and mornings get darker and visibility diminishes on our roads," says Colin Delaney, general manager at easytrip Ireland. "Breakdowns such as punctures, flat batteries and engine failures can become more frequent, so getting your annual car service and spending five minutes checking your vehicle each week will ensure that any faults are identified and fixed as soon as possible.”