Experts share top tips for driving in the snow as Ireland blasted with wintry weather

By Sophie Collins

Ireland is in for a grim few days as Met Eireann predict scattered outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow across the country this weekend.

With an expected change in road conditions, it’s important that anyone headed out driving over the coming days is prepared.

Temperatures are due to drop to zero in some areas, and so icy conditions and snow build-up can throw a whole range of scenarios at Irish motorists.

The experts at Chill Insurance have listed out their top tips to ensure the safest driving practice amid torrential conditions, and have also answered the most common winter driving questions.

3 top tips for driving in the snow

Experts share top tips for driving in the snow as grim conditions hit this weekend (gettyimages.ie)

Check Your Tyres

With the roads becoming icy, it is really important that your tyres are in good shape.

Make sure to check the tyres (including the spare) before heading off on your journey.

The thread depth shouldn’t fall below 3mm. Ensure the tyre pressure is inflated to the right level before you start any big journeys – you can do this easily at any good petrol station.

Keep A Shovel In The Boot

When there are heavy snowfalls, cars can get stuck in the snow. Rear wheel drives will find it difficult to make it up even the gentlest of slopes.

Having a shovel in your boot can be a life-saver if you find your car getting stuck. If you have some empty potato bags at home, bring them along too.

You can place them underneath the wheels if you find that your wheels keep on spinning.

Be Seen

Remember to clear snow and ice from your lights before setting off.

Don’t forget to clear the fog lights and your rear backlights. Fog lights can be used with falling snow.

When clearing the windscreen, use a scraper or de-icer – hot water may crack the glass.

Common winter car questions answered

Experts share top tips for driving in the snow as grim conditions hit this weekend (Paul Mealey)

Why does my engine light come on in cold weather?

Most cars nowadays alert their drivers to any internal issues by lights and warning signs on the dashboard, and it's extremely important not to ignore them.

"If you’ve noticed more lights than normal on your dash during the cold weather, there could be a good reason for it.

"You may be alarmed when you see your engine warning light come on, but generally, when this happens in cold weather, it’s more likely that it’s alerting you to a low or flat battery.

"Alternatively, you might have a separate low battery light that comes on. A low battery can cause all kinds of issues and can affect the electrical components, including sensors and windows."

Why won’t my car start in the cold?

According to the experts, "it’s not just a low battery that could prevent your car from starting in the cold weather, but also alternator and starter motor issues.

"The alternator is what charges the battery as you drive the car, and so an issue with this device can lead to a flat battery.

"You may also notice problems such as faulty electric windows, flashing headlights, and flickering dashboard lights."

Is it a good idea to leave my engine running in the morning to defrost the car?

By leaving your engine running in the morning to heat up, Chill Insurance warn that you're leaving your car "exposed as an open target for thieves to hop in and drive off.

"Car theft has always been the number one fear of many motorists and that is why it is covered under your insurance.

"But if you leave the car running with the keys in the ignition, even outside your own house, and the car is stolen, your insurer may not cover it - it’s best to not take the risk."

Will hot water de-ice my car?

Experts warn that you risk cracking your windscreen by using hot water to clear ice before driving.

Instead, "you should use cold water to pour over the windscreen. The water will still defrost the ice, but won't run the risk of cracking the glass."


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