09.12.2015 Car Insurance
Many of us will spend a lot of time behind the wheel over the Christmas period. Whether it’s to the local shopping centre, the office party or to visit relatives on the other side of the country, there are a lot of places to go and people to see.
While you and your family are enjoying everything that the festive season has to offer, it’s important to remember that safety doesn’t take a holiday. Driving is one of the most dangerous things we do every day and with busier roads and potentially hazardous driving conditions, this is especially true during Christmas time.
We have put together some simple safety tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe on the roads during the holidays so you can enjoy a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Be Prepared for the Irish Weather
It is often said that Irish people are obsessed with the weather, which isn’t too surprising considering we can experience four seasons in one day. As changeable and unpredictable as our weather may be, there is one thing we can say for certain – Irish winters do not make for favourable driving conditions.
Plenty of rain and darkness, high winds and freezing conditions can all mean that driving over the Christmas period is particularly hazardous. Wet roads can increase your stopping distance significantly and black ice can quite quickly send your car completely out of control.
As such, we recommend that you take extra precaution on the roads this winter. Lowering your speed slightly and leaving some additional distance between you and the car in front can significantly lower your chance of being in an accident.
Don’t Drive While Tired
As exciting as the holiday season is, it can also be exhausting. Running from store to store to get the last of the Christmas gifts, getting the house decorated and ready for Santa’s visit and a busy social calendar can all take their toll.
Tiredness can seriously impair your driving ability. Driving while fatigued may even impair your ability behind the wheel as much as alcohol. In fact, it is estimated that driver fatigue is a contributing factor in one out of five driver deaths on Irish roads.
The facts are undeniable and the advice is clear. Under no circumstances should you get behind the wheel of a car unless you are well rested. On long drives, if you feel tired, pull over immediately and take a rest. Stopping in a safe place for a quick nap could be the difference between arriving at your destination safely and nodding off at the wheel.
Never Ever Drink & Drive
For many Irish people, the Christmas period is the highlight of the social calendar. And whether it’s beer at the office party or mulled wine at the local Christmas market, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in some festive cheer.
Alcohol is the one of the most common contributing factors in road related deaths in Ireland and while it should probably go without saying, under no circumstances should you ever drink and drive. While most people know the dangers of driving while drunk, we also recommend that you exercise caution the morning after.
It takes roughly one hour for the body to remove alcohol from your bloodstream. This means that if you have drunk a considerable amount of alcohol, you may still be over the limit the next morning. The effect could very easily be enough to increase your risk of a serious accident or falling foul of the law.
Check Your Car Is Winter Ready
The changeable weather, the long and dark nights and the busy roads around Christmas time can make for challenging driving conditions. And it is common at this time of year for drivers to travel longer distances than normal and on roads they are not familiar with as they visit friends and family.
So to help keep you and your family safe on the roads, we recommend that you make sure your car is winter ready. Before heading off on your journey, you can make some simple checks to help ensure that you will make it to your destination safely.
Check your tyre pressure and thread depth and make sure they are free from any damage to keep you gripped to the road. Make sure that your windscreen wipers are working and in good condition for the inevitable Irish rain. And check all lights on your car are operational and immediately replace any bulbs which are broken or fading.
Our last piece of advice can’t exactly prevent you having an accident on the roads, but it will at least give you peace of mind. Before the Christmas season gets into full swing and you’re too busy for anything else, make sure that your car insurance is up to date and you are fully covered.