Did you know that in winter Ireland gets a little over 7 hours of daylight each day? With long dark hours and lower temperatures, accidents related to winter weather increase dramatically. Here are five quick things you can do now to avoid injury.
1. Get a grip
As temperatures plunge, any wet ground like footpaths and streets are a potential hazard as they could quickly ice over. Proper treading protects against slips and falls by increasing the friction between the tread and the ground.
Whether wheels or footwear, makes sure they are in good condition. Automotive tyres treads should be least 1.6mm. If cycling, opt for wider, thicker tyres that offer more protection from punctures. Check and the tyre pressure and inflate as necessary as the cold temperatures causes the pressure to decrease.
Look for footwear with non-smooth rubber soles. Don’t be afraid to wear one pair to work and then change at your destination. Hold on to handrails or sturdy surfaces if the ground is slippery.
2. Clean the windscreen
The low angle of the winter sun can be blinding, making it difficult to see pedestrians and other cars. This glare is made worse from a dirty windscreen, worn out wipers that smear the dirt, and (often overlooked) a greasy windscreen interior. Keep sunglasses handy and clean the outside AND the inside of the windscreen to ensure a clear field of vision.
3. Drive like Granny’s in the car
One of the most common reasons for an automotive accident is related to speed. Going too fast increases the risk for hydroplaning or skidding and decreases your reaction time to avoid pedestrians who darted out in front of you or obstacles in the road. While everyone else may be rushing around you, instead imagine you’re taking Granny for a Sunday drive, break and steer gently, breathe, and take your time.
4. Be visible
With 12 hours of dark per day in the winter, being seen is essential. Motorists, check your headlights and brake lights. If the temperatures are particularly low, carry extra bulbs because the cold can make the lights defective.
Cyclists use front and rear lights and reflectors at dawn, dusk, and dark hours. Always have them with you so you’re not caught out.
Anyone out on the road needs a high visibility vest or clothing. Motorists should have one easily accessible in case of emergencies. Cyclists and pedestrians who frequent dark roads should always wear one after dark.
5. Watch out for ice
Most accidents related to ice happen between the hours of 6-11am. Whether you’re walking or driving, look out for that wet patch--it could be a puddle or it could be ice. How can you tell the difference? It can be difficult at first glance, especially if flying down the road.
Black ice forms mostly under trees and side of the roads, so still stick toward the centre where it’s a bit higher.
Proper tyres and footwear can help provide more grip, but exercise caution for the best defence, especially in the morning hours.
Even with the best preparations, accidents do happen!
Should the unthinkable occur, know your rights and next steps ahead of time. Here’s a great guide on what to do if involved in a road traffic accident.
Remember, before you call your insurance, call Martin A. Harvey & Co. Solicitors at 021 496 3400 who will be happy to assist you. For further information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on our website.