Unless you have been living in the Bahamas over the last week or so, you may have noticed winter’s chill creeping in. The AA is urging motorists to drive with extra care ahead of windy weather conditions forecasted for this weekend.
Met Eireann has issued a status yellow wind warning from 6am tomorrow (Saturday) until 6pm Sunday.
“As the weather changes, motorists need to be even more careful,” says AA Director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan. “It is pertinent that motorists’ reduce their speed and allow a greater braking distance when driving on wet and windy roads,” says Conor.
The AA advises to regularly check the AA Roadwatch website for updates on driving conditions particularly over the course of the next few days.
What to do if you do find yourself skidding.
Most modern cars have ABS – anti-lock braking system – and many also have Electronic Stability Control. ABS is a brilliant invention. It means that the car automatically releases the brakes and regrips them many times per second. This means the driver can press the brake pedal and keep it pressed – the car does the work for you.
Non-ABS brakes on older cars are different. They simply stop the wheel completely and that means skidding. While there are advanced driving techniques (‘pumping’ the brake pedal) these won’t be learned in a day and it is far easier to manage your driving so that you never need to brake sharply.
Reduce acceleration but don’t take your foot off the accelerator completely.
Use the highest gears possible under the conditions, and as you gently brake, move down in your gears to come to a gradual halt.
If you have an automatic, then under normal driving conditions (motorways, etc) it’s best to select ‘Drive’ and let the gearbox do the work throughout the full gear range. In slippery, snowy conditions you can make driving much safer by selecting ’2′, which limits the gear changes and also makes you less reliant on the brakes. Many modern autos have a ‘Winter’ mode which locks out first gear to reduce the risk of wheel spin. Check the handbook if you’re not sure.
For further advice on winter driving the AA invites motorists to visit their dedicated AA Winter Hub.