How to stay safe on the roads:

AA Roadwatch spokesman Conor Faughnan has this advice:

  • Prepare the car before you set off. Take a sweeping brush and clear the snow from all the windows, the lights and the roof.
  • Take a shovel, some warm clothes, good boots and ensure that your mobile phone is charged.
  • Give the car a chance to warm up. Start the engine before you use any of the other electrics -- heaters, fans, demisters. Batteries typically only work at around 50pc of their normal power in sub-zero temperatures
  • Do not turn on wipers if they are still frozen to the glass as this could short out the fuses.
  • Drive gently, with gentle acceleration and braking. Avoid having to make any harsh manoeuvres; simply slow down in these conditions.
  • Use brakes as little as possible. When approaching traffic lights on an icy road, lift your foot off the accelerator and shift down to a lower gear to let the car slow naturally.
  • When you have to turn a corner in a housing estate, do the same thing. Gear down and let the car slow gently rather than braking. Hit the brakes and you are likely to slide.
  • Use foglights in dense fog or in thick falling snow but remember to turn them off afterwards.
  • Put safety before punctuality.