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26 May 2022

Back to school in Donegal: AA Ireland’s tips for staying safe on the roads

Back to school in Donegal: AA Ireland’s tips for staying safe on the roads

With schools reopening in Donegal today, there is an expected increase in traffic volumes over the next few days.

With that in mind, the Automobile Association is therefore urging motorists to be extra cautious on the roads and be wary of wintery driving conditions and in light of the yellow level ice/snow warning that comes into from 4pm, this Thursday afternoon.

“It’s the new year and schools are returning, so why not take some time to check that your car is kitted out with the correct equipment for keeping young passengers safe,” says Anna Cullen of AA Ireland.

“This includes having the correct child restraint systems in place. As stated by law, all children under 150cm tall and weighing less than 36kg must use the correct child restraint seat, booster seat or booster cushion.”
“Remember too, it’s the driver’s legal responsibility to ensure that all passengers under 17 are wearing a seat belt or fitted with an appropriate child restraint system,” adds Cullen. 
When you’ve parked up, always keep an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles as you get out of the car – consider trying the “Dutch Reach”, and open the door with your far hand so you can see what’s behind you. 

“Never leave a child in a parked car unsupervised: there are a number of hazards that could arise and cause them injury.”

WINTER DRIVING CONDITIONS 

Before you set out on the roads, make sure you’ve done all you can to make your journey as safe as possible. 

Icy conditions

Check your tyres regularly, as you rely on them for grip on the roads. Clear your windows, mirrors, and headlights of any ice and carry a screen scraper and de-icer in your vehicle. Remember to never pour very hot or boiling water on the windscreen as it could weaken or crack the glass.

“One of the most important things you need to do while driving on icy roads is slow down. This means allowing extra time for your journeys, as it might take you a little longer to get there. In icy conditions it can take ten times longer to stop your vehicle, meaning it’s essential to give yourself extra space around other road users,” says Cullen. 

Remember too that motorways, national roads, and regional roads are more likely to be gritted than local roads or secondary routes.

Sun glare

Another issue on our roads is sun glare. It can be near impossible to see at times thanks to eye level glare, especially if your windscreen is dirty. 

Cullen states: “A tip we are offering motorists is to have a pair of sunglasses in the car and to make sure the windscreen is clean to cope with low level glare on clearer days. Keep your speed right down, put on your shades and keep your distance from the car in front.” 

Fog

Fog is a weather condition that is most common in Ireland during winter – particularly inland and at higher altitudes. 

Many drivers in this country would benefit from taking the time to check their car’s handbook to learn about their lights and the various different settings. Use your dipped headlights at all times plus your windscreen wipers and demisters.

“Familiarise yourself with your front and rear fog lights. Know how to switch them on and off and use them only when appropriate. Beware of other drivers not using headlights,” says Cullen. 

“Only drive as fast as conditions allow and maintain a greater distance between you and the car in front. Tailing someone’s rear lights can give a false sense of security and is dangerous,” she adds. 

Sources:

https://www.theaa.ie/blog/ mother-natures-trickiest- winter-driving-conditions/

https://www.theaa.ie/blog/ keeping-children-safe-in-cars/

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