Louth Weather Update: How to drive safely during the snowstorms

Research suggests less than half of Irish drivers are confident driving in snow

Tia Clarke

Reporter:

Tia Clarke

Email:

tia.clarke@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Snow

Snow on Jocelyn Street earlier this morning

Louth is currently in the grips of storm Emma and more snow is expected over the coming days. 

Bus Eireann and Matthews Coaches have cancelled their services in the area and motorists are being advised to only travel if it is necessary.  

If you do need to drive today, this list of driving tips for snow and ice-covered roads from Liberty Insurance should prove useful.

1. Clear your entire car of snow, not just the windscreen. As you drive around corners the snow can dislodge from your roof and impact other vulnerable road users. Do not pour hot water on your windscreen to clear the snow and ice.  The sudden change from cold to hot can severely damage the glass.

2. Only travel where absolutely necessary. Check your tyre pressure and thread depth (minimum 1.6mm).
Try to avoid steep inclines on snowy roads.  If you can’t avoid a snowy hill, make sure to keep your momentum to avoid getting stuck.


3. Be aware of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and be mindful of your surroundings

4. Drive slowly. If you cannot avoid driving in freezing conditions, reduce your speed below the speed limit to appropriately respond to patches of ice and snow.


5. Avoid sudden starts and stops. On slippery roads, be sure to avoid quickly accelerating and braking to prevent losing control of your vehicle.


6. Avoid using your fog lights unless absolutely necessary. Fog lamps will dazzle other road users, especially when the white snow on the road is reflecting the light back up at them. If you’re in any doubt about which lights to use, put yourself in the position of other drivers on the road.


7. Avoid using brakes if you are on slippery  road. If you do start to skid on a patch of slippery road, avoid using the brakes as this will prolong the skid. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator to allow yourself to reduce speed until you can gain control of the car. 


8. Stock A Winter Emergency Kit. In the event that you do have to pull over during heavy snowfall or find yourself with a broken-down vehicle, be prepared with a winter emergency kit. Recommended items include: a hi-visibility jacket, a flashlight and batteries, hand-warmers, blankets, drinking water, shovel and ice scraper, jumper cables, and standalone emergency lights.


9. Charge your mobile phone. Have a fully charged mobile phone to hand so you can call for assistance in the event of an emergency.


10. You should covered  by your insurance policy. Finally, don’t panic! Home insurance and motor insurance policies apply as normal in a storm. Insurance cover is not impacted by the weather conditions. (This advice is from Liberty Insurance. Check with your insurance company.) 
 

Gardai are also advising motorists and all road users to use caution on our roads.

A Garda warning said: "Leave sufficient room between you and the car in front and drive within a speed where you can stop in time."