Life Motoring

Saturday 21 September 2019

If you need to make necessary journeys, here's some advice

Post Hurricane Ophelia,fallen tree on Quill Road,Kilmacanoge,Co Wicklow on Monday October 17. Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Post Hurricane Ophelia,fallen tree on Quill Road,Kilmacanoge,Co Wicklow on Monday October 17. Pic Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Geraldine Herbert

As Storm Ophelia continues to sweep across the country gardai are advising not to make any non-essential journeys but if you do need to travel here are some important tips to keep in mind when driving in extreme weather conditions.

Driving in windy weather

• Plan your journey - is there a route with less exposure to the weather and less risk of fallen trees? Choose a sheltered route if you have the option.

• Be aware of the danger posed by debris that may have blown into the roadway.

• Wind rarely blows steadily and a sudden gust can catch out even the most experienced driver. Expect gusts at any time, but particularly on open stretches of road, when passing bridges or gaps in hedges or when overtaking high-sided vehicles.  It is recommended that drivers keep both hands on the steering wheel at the nine and three o’ clock positions.

• High-sided vehicles are most affected by windy weather, so be aware that strong gusts can blow them into your path, but high gusts can also throw a car off track, so be particularly aware of this on open stretches of road exposed to strong cross winds.

• Avoid using cruise control so you can better control your car’s speed.

• Your car may be affected by turbulence created by large vehicles, so keep well back from them and take extra caution when overtaking.

• Controlling your speed is an important factor – reducing your speed will provide additional stability.

• Take care when passing pedestrians , cyclists and motorcyclists and leave extra room, remember they can be blown across your path.

• Check weather and traffic bulletins regularly and if conditions are likely to worsen then stay at home.

Driving in heavy rain and floods

• Drive on the highest section of the road and don't set off if a vehicle is approaching you.

• Leave time and space to avoid swamping other cars and pedestrians.

• Drive slowly and keep going once you have started - make sure you have a clear run. In a manual car, keep the revs high by "slipping the clutch" (which means the clutch is not fully engaged) all the time you are in the water.

• When driving through deep water, never take your foot off the accelerator, as this could allow water to travel up the exhaust pipe.

• Once you're out of the water, dry the brakes before you need them. The best way is to lightly apply the brake as you drive along for a few seconds, after checking nothing is following you too closely.

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