As we all know, the cold weather, ice and snow can linger right into spring in Ireland. These conditions can make driving a serious challenge for you and your car, that’s why we’ve pulled together our top driving tips for the coming months!
Driving Tip #1: Get your car serviced
In the summer, a break-down can be irritating but it’s not the end of the world. In the colder months, you’re stuck outside, possibly in minus degrees, with a multitude of things that need to be done. Our number one driving tip is to get your car serviced. Doing this regularly means that the chances of an unexpected breakdown are decreased.
Driving Tip #2: Get a mechanic to make sure that your battery and charging system is up to standard
An old battery is liable to stop working and can leave you stuck down a random country lane, cold and bored. Ask your mechanic to check the battery and charging system to make sure it’s up to scratch. If needs be, buy a new battery. Remember: the cold makes for harder conditions on your car, so there’s more demand on your battery than during the summer months.
Driving Tip #3: Make sure your windshield wipers are in good nick
The last thing you want is your wipers giving up on you in the middle of a wintery downpour. Rubber covering on your wipers is also important to keep ice from collecting on the blade. If you do invest in sturdier winter wipers, remember to turn them off before shutting down your car.
Driving Tip #4: This is an obvious driving tip, but keep your gas tank as close to full as you can
If you find yourself stuck on the side of the road or in trouble, you’ll want to run the heat to stay warm. The one concern here is conserving fuel: if you have a near empty tank, you’re going to burn up your fuel fast. A full tank means a warm car, and if you are unfortunate enough to be stuck somewhere for more than twenty minutes, you’ll quickly be very appreciative of the heat!
Driving Tip #5: Stock up on antifreeze
If you’re ever out driving or you start your engine during the cold months and you hear a continuous squealing noise, your water pump is likely to be frozen. Stop your car straight away and let it thaw out.
If you’re out driving and your car begins to overheat, your radiator may well have frozen, which stops coolant from circulating. Stop your car. This is where your antifreeze will come in handy. Just be sure to check your car’s handbook or ask a dealer for advice to ensure you buy the right type. A 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water in the cooling system during cold months will help to keep your system ticking over.
Driving Tip #6: Another obvious driving tip, but avoid driving in the snow or in icy areas where possible
Prevention really is the best driving tip we’ve got for you, though it’s not always possible: the kids need to get to school, you need to get to work, and something important just has to be done. Stick to roads that have been salted and gritted. The cold months are not the time for shortcuts! Even if it’s not very dark, keep your lights on. Maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Drive slowly and carefully. Sure, it might take you a half hour longer to get to where you’re going, but that’s surely preferable to hitting the back of the car in front of you! Use common sense and be careful!
Driving Tip #7: If you get stuck, be smart about it
Don’t spin your wheels. You’ve seen this happen in a million films: the main character is stuck in mud or snow or something else entirely. They press their foot to the accelerator. The wheels spin aimlessly and they’re more stuck than they were a minute ago.
Instead, what you need to do is determine the path of least resistance between your car and solid ground. Get out. Clear away the snow to make a pathway. Keep your tires straight to make for an easier get-away.
The cold months of early spring and the tail-end of winter can be seriously hard-going on your car. Make sure your car insurance policy covers you in the tougher months!
Click here or call us on (01) 420 0995 to find out how you can save up to 60% on your Car Insurance if you have been claims free for the past 5 years (subject to a minimum premium of €309.95, inclusive of Government levy).