The winter months bring adverse weather conditions and longer periods of darkness making driving conditions more hazardous. Taking a number of simple precautions can ensure safety on Irish roads during winter. Mahony Fleet Driver Support have outlined some of their top tips for drivers to ensure their vehicle is prepared for winter driving.

1. Check your tyres. Your tyres are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road so it is vital that they are maintained correctly. Tyres should be at least the minimum legal thread depth of 1.6mm but need to be changed before they get this worn. Tyres need to be to the correct tyre pressure to give the motorist the best chance in extreme conditions. Mahony Fleet drivers can call into any Best Drive tyre depots and have your tyres checked.

2. Use your lights. As we come into the winter months the days become shorter. All drivers are advised to use dipped head lights during the day so you are easily seen. Headlights and taillights should be in working order.

3. Safe Distance. It takes longer to stop a car during the winter weather so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the car in front. Review your driver manual to understand how safety assist technology such as Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) can help your driving in harsh weather conditions.

4. Visibility. All too often motorists do not de-fog or de-ice windows and mirrors which can compromise visibility. This winter ensure windows and mirrors are clear, and carry a de-icer and screen scraper. Do not use boiling water as this can crack the windscreen.

5. Beware of “Black Ice”. Black Ice is one of winter’s biggest hazards as it is difficult to see. Watch out for sheltered/ shaded areas on roads, under trees and near high walls.

6. Be prepared. During these winter months it is advised that drivers carry a number of essentials in the boot of their car, especially if you travel long distances.

  • High visibility vest
  • Appropriate footwear in case you need to leave your vehicle e.g. boots
  • A hazard warning triangle
  • Spare wheel (Check that your spare wheel is in good condition and is fully inflated. Some cars may have an inflation repair kit instead of a spare wheel. Make sure that you know how to use it.)
  • Tow Rope
  • De-icing equipment (for glass and door locks)
  • Spare bulbs
  • First aid kit
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A working torch
  • A car blanket, additional clothing & some food and water

7. In the event of a breakdown. Drivers need to ensure their vehicle is well in off the road so as not to obstruct other vehicles. The driver should also put on their hazard warning lights. If the vehicle breaks down on the motorway pull in as far as you can, alerting traffic behind you with hazard lights. The driver should leave their vehicle, get behind the barrier (on the embankment) and contact Mahony Fleet Driver Support on 01-8660520 for assistance. If the accident occurs outside of normal office hours, call 01-8660520 and select the “Breakdown Assistance” option.

8. Keep up to date. Listen to local weather and traffic reports. Pay heed to the weather warnings alerting drivers of unsafe and dangerous driving conditions.

9. Car defrosts: A popular method of quickly defrosting your car entails putting your heater on its highest setting, keeping the air conditioning on, turning recirculation off, and cracking your window a bit.

Regarding EVs, most of them now have a companion app that helps you control defrosting without having to step outside. If your car has features like this, read through the car manual to check if power consumption is mentioned – it’s a good idea to check in the rare chance that you’re driving and forgot to charge your EV overnight.

If you have any queries about the above driver tips, our Driver Support team would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. They can be contacted by phone at 01-8660520 or via email