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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 1, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

    Video: Winter Driving Tips

    Michael McAleer

    YouTube Preview Image
    • wayne says:

      Might be prudent in future articles -pieces like this, to highlight that lights are predominantly used to alert and notify other vehicles of your presence on the road ,NOT to “see where you are going” (as most drivers in Ireland seem to think) . Full Lights should be on all day ,its safer for all road users.

    • Donall says:

      Worth remembering to wipe snow off you lights and indicators too when you’re cleaning snow off your car.

    • eithne says:

      What about suggesting that you drive at a slow speed but in as high a gear as possible?

    • Eoin says:

      I hope Wayne means dipped headlights and not full headlights as the fulls would be extremely dazzling and dangerous to other road users, during day and night.

    • stephen says:

      Replace tyres. Even new regular ones will be better than the old balding ones. Replace the front two or back two at the same time (or all 4). Winter tyres are best, there is no need for Snow tyres in Ireland. This should definitely done if you live in a less urban area. Don’t bother inflating tyres now, this makes tyres even more slippy. Charge the mobile and put the breakdown/local gardai nos into your phone contacts and a slip of paper. Scrape the ice off rather than hotwater or deicer spray. It will stay ice free longer and you can see out. Bring a can of deicer in the car.Perhaps time for that car service you’ve been delaying on?

    • Fred The Nordic in Ireland says:

      I’m a Nordic living in Ireland and me and my fellow Nordics here were laughing our head off in the beginning of 2010 when Ireland broke down because of 5cm of snow and people acted like stupid people when driving their cars. I’m happy to see that both the advice and people are a little bit better this time but not much. Here is the thing, winter tyres are needed in Ireland even though it may not be snow all the time. “Summer” tyres are built up of a composition of materials that get stiff when the temperature is below 7 degress celsius which result in a less grip and flexibility in the tyres. When the temperature falls below 6-7 degrees all road surfaces and water also become more slippy as the material get harder why a winter tyre would grip better. Important to know as well is that on plain ice there is only one tyre that makes a difference and that is the winter tyre with spikes so if you don’t have those when it’s plain ice on the roads…leave the car back home. The for the love of God stop being so lazy and wipe of the snow from the cars roof, windows, hood, ligths and wheel houses. It’s really dangerous driving around with snow like that.

      Then I would also like to point out that salting the roads is plain stupid if you don’t plow/take away as much snow as possible. What happen is that the salt can only melt so much and while the ground is freezing it freezes the melted water on top and you get a nice plain icy surface. And the road may look all wet but our eyes can see that underneath the water there is plain ice as the freezing ground slowely is freezing the water from underneath. Then it’s better to let the snow be on the roads as it at least give the tyres some form of grip. To the road authorities, you put the plow in front of the truck and the salt spreader in the back of the truck and then wooow you get a result that is not a blank surface of ice.

      And please stop calling this arctic temperatures and extreme cold because it’s not. Get up to the Nordics and you have 1-6 meters of snow and 0 to minus 30 degrees. When we hit below minus 10-15 degrees then we can start talking about freezing weather. And in the southern parts of let’s say Sweden they have much of a winter like here so don’t come and say it’s not possible to handle it. Introduce a law that requires proper tyres in the winter, get proper equipment for the road authorities, make up plans for special bus routes to operate along main roads that are well treated, and finally start insulating the houses. Insolation also helps keeping the heating cost down and keeps your living less hot during the summer.

    • frank says:

      I went into a major skid yesterday after engine braking. The card two full 360 degree turns and began to slide broadways. between swearing I got it straightened up but I don’t remember how. When that awful sensation begins it is difficult to be logical. I just dreaded other cars or bigger vechicles coming on the scene and slamming into me. I am glad I am alive and the car was not too badly damaged. This man gives some reassurance. I did not turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid. May everyone be spared from that experience. One thing saved worse damage being done. I was doing between 10 and 15 miles an hour.

    • Karl says:

      I dont like his comment about braking or traction control.

      Brake hard when you have ABS if you find you are not stopping. If you do not have ABS then apply brakes lightly and pump brakes which is what ABS does to avoid lockups. In heavy snow turn traction control off as you can cook the brakes. Just ease off the gas and start off in a higher gear when starting.

      Practice in a parking lot or in open space to see how your car handles in the snow. Heavy cars will start off the line better but take longer to stop. Living in Canada, you would think that we know how to drive in snow but every year, the first major snow fall, there are always accidents as people don’t tailor their driving habits to the conditions and just plain panic.

      Winter tires make a big difference if you can afford them. It’s a big expense considering that even with snow, the roads are usually clear not longer after a snow fall.

      Cheers and enjoy the white stuff.

    • tom murphy says:

      My advise after visiting from NYC last Xmas:
      1.Get salt & sand. Keep them in your car/house. When there is even a hint of icey conditions spread liberally around walkways(to car) and around driveways around your home. Don’t forget walkway in front of home; it’s the Christian thing to do and avoids a tail back at A&E when you arrive.
      2. Find anti-freeze for wiper system and keep replenishing in the car.
      3. Before leaving in car study the roadway near home. Count up cars in motion and accidents; figure your odds.
      4. If you persist in venturing out, bend over, spread your legs and kiss your a** goodbye. Turn key, hope it doesn’t
      Like the Nordic type, I had no problems. I asked for a RAV4 at Shannon. Go forth prepared.

    • George says:

      I have driven in N. Spain during many winters where they get at least three months of heavy snow and freezing conditions. Engine braking is no good as it only operates on two wheels, whereas the brakes work on all four. I bought snow tyres for my 4×4 and they lasted more than 60,000 miles and gave good grip in wet conditions summer and winter, and they were cheaper than “normal” tyres! In Spain certain mountain passes require the use of chains and the police enforce that. If you don’t have chains then you get turned back. Last February I fitted the chains to a Clio and I could go up hills that the 4×4 couldn’t go!! They work best on hard-packed snow, but not ice. If you drive on a dry or icy road the chains will wear and break eventually, as well as damaging the tyres. Used correctly, they make driving safe but why oh why are they illegal in this country? The NRA should go on a trip to Spain in January and have a look!

    • J says:

      Let me see if I have this correct. As reported; Offaly County Council has said it will cease salting some roads over the weekend in order to conserve salt stocks. Conserving for what ? Do they think the Green is going to melt the snow ?

    • Niall says:

      Tires: That winter tires are not easily sourced in Ireland is not a good excuse – they can be ordered via the internet from e.g. Germany. ALL SEASON TIRES can be fitted for year round use, alternatively FRICTION winter tires don’t have studs so they would be sufficient for Irish winter driving.

      Starting up: Start the engine and LET IT IDLE FOR FIVE MINUTES to warm up viscous fluids. During the warmup, remove ALL snow from the car (yes inc the roof!).

      Slippery inclines: If you have a modern geared car, simply put it in 1st gear, ease off the clutch and acceleration very slowly, then the engine’s TORQUE should start pulling the car slowly up the incline. This may not work with older lower torque cars. (I’m surprised Paddy didn’t mention that!)

      Equipment: Ice scraper + snow brush, plastic short-handled snow shovel, lock de-icer, grip mats, washer additive, spare blanket, torch and high visibility safety vest.

      Hint: Next time you’re out buying a car, look at 4×4 cars, there’s plenty of choice these days.
      You’ll never go back to 2-wheel drive. I didn’t!

    • anne marie says:

      good advices ! hopefully some new laws could oblige us to have winter tyres (i put on 4 winter tyres from november to march every year and am pretty happy with the result) and to have tyres in good condition (the 1.6 mm limit is totally mad !)
      and don’t believe 4×4 are the good solution : normal cars but well equipped and wisely driven by well aware drivers can go everywhere in whatever conditions !

    • Martin from Dublin says:

      @Fred The Nordic in Ireland. Everything you say is absolutely correct. But go a little bit easy on us. We just aren’t used to this weather. But we’d better get used to it as I think it’s going to be here every winter.

    • Listening to an Ipod or other electronic devices, putting on make-up, eating while driving, or adjusting a cd player or stereo in the car can all increase your chances of a car crash.

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