‘Snow’ time to take the car

Take care if driving in snowy conditions.
Take care if driving in snowy conditions.

Motorists are urged to only drive if necessary as the twin impact of Storm Emma and the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ has the country in a wintry grip this week.

Temperatures are dropping across the country, and heavy snowfall and ice is forecast in the coming days. Driving in these conditions can be unsettling and dangerous: black ice can cause skidding; low sunlight reflects off the snow, dazzling drivers; and radiators can freeze.

Carzone, which is part of Auto Trader Group plc, the largest digital automotive marketplace in Ireland and the UK, has issued a number of tips to drivers in connection with the present, and predicted, road conditions.

If you need to drive somewhere, make sure your tyres are in good conditions and try to stick to the main roads, which will be prioritised for gritting by Galway City and County Councils.

Keep your speed low, and keep your fuel-tank topped up – if you become stranded, you will be able to keep your engine running to stay warm.

Bring a bag of supplies, such as food, water, warm clothes, a blanket, torch, first aid kit, fully charged mobile phone, jump leads, shovel, ice scraper, de-icing fluid and grit/sand/cat litter (for traction if you get stuck).

Clear the entire windscreen with de-icer fluid or scraper, not just a peephole: Make sure the window wipers aren’t stuck to the window. Also clear the side and rear mirrors, front and back lights, door mirrors and number plate.

Clear any snow off the roof of your car: This can easily slide down while driving and block your view again.

Steer, accelerate and brake smoothly – abrupt changes and manoeuvres can result in loss of grip and control. Listen to the surface – If the sudden crunch of driving on snow stops, you may be on ice.

If you skid, don’t brake as this may prolong the skid. Take your foot of the accelerator and wait for the skid to stop. If you begin to spin, steer in the car in the direction the rear of your car is sliding.