Driving tips: Icy conditions
Icy surfaces arenâ€™t all bad â€“ they did give us the RTE News slip guy â€“ but when it comes to driving, you had best be on your guard if Jack Frost has been about the place.
According to the RAC, many of us havenâ€™t a bogâ€™s notion of what precautions we should be taking in sub-zero, icy conditions and as a result, accidents invariably sky rocket when roads are covered in surface ice. Most can be avoided.
First off, drivers should make sure they are forewarned as to the severity of the weather outside before they head off. Keep an eye on temperatures and driving forecasts â€“ in sub-zero temperatures youâ€™re going to be looking at ice or black ice. Secondly, check the condition of your tyres â€“ if theyâ€™re as bald as a coot then you'll need to get them legal.
According to the RAC, the first thing to do once youâ€™re out on the open road is what your girlfriend constantly reminds you about on those romantic nights in â€“ slow down. Steering gently and avoiding harsh turns, braking or acceleration will also help you avoid ending up like a whirling dervish.
The RAC also advises that drivers should, â€œKeep a safe distance between themselves and other vehicles.â€ You may be curious about the punchline on their bumper sticker of the car in front of you, but resist the urge to tailgate in a bid to find out what it says. Drivers should also remember to, â€œlook well ahead to anticipate problems and when pulling away and use second gear where possible to avoid wheel spinâ€.
When preparing to break, drop into a low gear early, which allows speed to fall more gradually, and use the brake pedal sparingly. Should all these measures fail and you find yourself in a tail-spin, stop screaming, put your hands back on the wheel and steer into the skid. According to the RAC, you should ease off the accelerator and avoid the urge to break suddenly.
And that isnâ€™t all you can do to avoid finding yourself in a game of car pinball. â€œWhen cornering, allow the speed to reduce well before bends and corners by easing off the accelerator,â€ say the RAC. â€œTry to avoid using the accelerator in rounding a corner as it may cause wheel spin and result in a skid.â€
If you do all the above you may still find yourself in an accident, although chances are it will be the other chapâ€™s fault and you wonâ€™t be the one stuck with the repair bill.