Garda advice for safe winter road use

At the launch of the Inter-Agency Be Winter Ready campaign in Cork were front, l-r: Cora Hayes, Flu Lead, Cork/Kerry Community Health Care; Jennifer Power, Mercy Hospital Urgent Care Centre; Garda Ollie Power, Cork City Roads Policing Unit; Back, l-r: Martin Coleman, 3rd officer, Cork City Fire and Rescue; Aidan Glavin, Asst. Chief Fire Officer, Cork County Council (CCC); John Donegan, Senior Engineer CCC; Garda Ray O'Brien, Cork City Roads Policing Unit. 'Be Winter Ready' aims to raise public awareness about the challenges which Winter can present and is coordinated locally by An Garda Sí­ochána, the HSE, Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Kerry County Council. (Picture: Brian Lougheed)

Gardaí and other State agencies have issued advice for road users as the bitter winter months loom.

Gardaí are asking all motorists to be mindful of all other road users and to make sure your vehicle is winter ready before heading out on the roads. 

Inspector James Hallahan of the Roads Policing Unit in Cork said that a few small adjustments can have a huge positive impact on safety.

“All motorists must follow a few simple tips to make sure they are winter ready. Check your tyres, lights and indicators all year round. Check your tyre pressure, tread depth and their condition,” he said. 

“It is extremely dangerous to drive on defective tyres. Before you set off on a journey, be sure to check Met Éireann and your local authority website for weather updates.

“Ensure all of your windows are clean and free from snow and ice; bring a scraper and de-icer with you. Also remove any snow left on the roof of your vehicle. When braking the snow may become loose and can drop onto the windscreen. 

“I would also highly recommend that all motorist put a hi-viz jacket, shovel, boots or wellingtons, extra clothing or a blanket and a flask in the boot of the car, in case you do get stuck or have to abandon the car,” added the inspector. 

Insp Hallahan spoke of the particular dangers for two wheeled road users in snow covered roads 

“Motorcyclists and cyclists should consider their safety before heading out in icy or snow conditions. Controlling two wheeled vehicles in snow or icy conditions is extremely difficult and there is an increased danger of a collision with a vehicle that is out of control. Consider taking alternative transport or walking.

“Remember, avoid harsh braking, acceleration or steering as these can induce a skid. It takes longer to stop a vehicle in snow or on icy roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front.

“Most of all, be safe. If you need help, An Garda Síochána are here. If you know of an elderly or vulnerable friend or neighbour that needs assistance, pick up the phone and we will be there.” added Inspector Hallahan.