storm driving tips

Getting Around Safely After A Storm

The danger isn't always over when the winds die down. Learn how to drive home safely after a storm.

Driving immediately after a storm could be a bad idea. But there are times when you absolutely must get on the road. When that's the case, you need to take extra precaution and keep in mind some post-storm driving safety procedures to ensure that you and your family return home safe and sound.

Pack An Emergency Kit

Be prepared for the worst, including the possibility of being stranded on the road. Put a car emergency kit in the boot that includes extras like flashlight, first aid kit, water, warm clothes and blankets.

Drive With Extreme Caution

Road conditions after a damaging storm are wildly unpredictable. Proceed slowly and carefully to avoid driving over storm-blown debris like tree branches, metal, or broken glass that could damage your vehicle. Also be aware of dangers above like low-hanging branches, damaged bridges, and dangling power lines.

Because roads and cars could be damaged, more people are possibly walking on roads, so watch out for pedestrians. Traffic lights may also be out, so take extra precautions at crossroads, obey all road signs, and always give the right-of-way to emergency vehicles.

Don't Drive Through Floodwaters

Storm surges and torrential rains from a severe storm can cause serious flooding. Never drive through a road with standing or rushing water, even if it doesn't look that deep. The water depth can be deceiving, and it’s extremely dangerous at even the shallowest of depths:

6 inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose control or stall

1 foot of water will float many vehicles

2 feet of rushing water will carry away most cars, trucks, and SUVs

Instead, obey all road closure signs and find alternative routes to your destination if you come upon any signs of flooding.

Stay Away From Downed Power Lines

Under no circumstances should you drive over downed power lines. It's impossible to tell if a power line is electrified or not, even if you don't see sparks. While the rubber tyres of your car are technically electrical insulators, they're much too thin to protect you. And even if the downed wire isn't hot, the cables could get tangled on your tires or in your car's axle.

If an electrical wire does make contact with your vehicle, follow these safety rules:

Stay in the vehicle and call 911.

If you have to exit the vehicle for safety reasons, never touch the car and the ground at the same time, because the current will pass through your body and into the ground.

Instead, jump clear of the car in one hop.

Take small steps until you are at least 30 feet away from the car.

Tip: Downed power lines that are "dead" can become live again when power to the area is restored. So, if you see any downed power lines, stay away.

Stay Informed And Stay In Touch

Tune your car radio to local stations for weather updates and information on road conditions. If you get a signal, use your smartphone to check for emergency information. Send text messages to friends and relatives to stay informed and to update them on your location.

There could be a time when you can't avoid driving after a storm. But if you heed these safety tips and follow the rules of the road, you can get to your destination safely.

For total peace of mind, you should think about getting gadget insurance. With Car ’N Stuff from Liberty Insurance, you get affordable car insurance and renters cover, with access to travel and gadget insurance.

Disclosure: This article has been provided by Liberty Insurance, a car insurance provider in Ireland, and is paid for content.

Chill Insurances ChillDriveSafely eBook driving tips

Featured In New #ChillDriveSafely eBook

Chill Insurance has just launched a new eBook as part of a #ChillDriveSafely campaign. The Ireland's Most Beautiful Drives eBook features some of Ireland's best drives chosen by bloggers and top tips for car care and driving in a variety of different weather conditions including ice, wind, rain and fog - typical challenges for those of us living on the fringes of Western Europe.

The company asked a number of car experts and bloggers to contribute to the eBook. I was asked for my top tip for keeping the car unfrozen and it’s included in the eBook.

I’m interested in clever car hacks that save me time in the mornings so my number 1 tip to stay ice-free is to park the car in the direction of the morning sun. Because you know I’m a bit lazy (!!!) so anything that gives my car a headstart on defrosting is worth it and saves me running around in a fluster in the morning.

With the milder weather that spring has brought, my tip might look a bit redundant but come next winter, smart guys and girls park their cars in the direction of the morning sun.

Remember stay chilled, not frozen!

You can view and download the eBook for free here: Ireland's Most Beautiful Drives eBook

Caroline Kidd

winter driving tips

Best Winter Driving Tips

Best winter driving tips from Changing Lanes

Now that we have the car sorted (read my winter car care blog here), it’s time to get out on the road. There are a few things you should bear in mind for safe winter driving in Ireland.

  • My #1 tip is to be vigilant. Before you leave on your journey, listen to weather and traffic reports or check AA Roadwatch for any information about conditions or accidents on your route, weather warnings and road temperatures which will all give you clues as to how cautiously you should drive.
  • If your car is modern enough, it might have an outside temperature gauge that can provide another clue as to how much you need to modify your driving for the conditions. A little snowflake symbol will warn of potentially icy roads. A very useful warning.
  • Put on the appropriate lights after familiarising yourself with the switches to operate them, including the rear fog lamp(s), and front fogs if fitted. Fog lamps should only be used in fog or misty conditions, or in heavy rain, and switched off once the conditions improve. There is a good case for using dipped headlamps during the day.
  • Once out on the road, be aware of the condition of the road surface. Drive cautiously until you have a clear picture of the road conditions. Remember that the roads may seem dry and clear but if it’s been a frosty night, ice may linger longer in areas shaded by trees, high hedges/walls or under bridges.
  • If you have local knowledge of the roads think of the places where water often runs across the road. This may have frozen over in the cold so be ready for it.
  • Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front and slow down. That will give you time to react and stop the car safely in a hurry. On wet roads or icy ones you’re braking distance will be greatly reduced.
  • Beware of low lying sun. The sun doesn’t rise all that high in the winter months, so fully expect to come around a corner and be temporarily blinded, making it a struggle to see the white line in the centre, pedestrians, cyclists, or other cars. Another reason to slow down and expect the unexpected.
  • Wet leaves, mud, black ice, patches of snow or frost can cause your tyres to lose grip. To minimise the risk of a skid or slide over these conditions, keep all inputs - that’s accelerator, brake, and steering - to a minimum. Smoothness is key so adapt your driving style accordingly.
  • Take advantage of engine braking and drop the gears to take speed off the car gradually on snow and ice when you don’t want to pound the brakes. Gentle inputs on the brakes will help lower the revs and slow the car down. This method is very useful if you have to drive down a hill on your route where the car will naturally pick up speed if you do nothing.
  • Consider carrying a winter survival kit if the weather and roads are really bad and you really have to set off on a journey. Ideally include a high vis vest, warning triangle, tow rope, shovel, de-icer, first aid kit, torch, blanket, mobile phone charger and some food and water.

Practice these best winter driving tips and take care on the roads this winter!

Caroline Kidd