Get your car ready, Scandinavian-style

By Liberty Insurance Ireland on 26 February 2018
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We have a lot to thank Scandinavia for: Ikea, The Killing and of course, Sarah Lund’s fabulous jumpers. And although our winters are no match for theirs, Ireland’s motorists could take a few pointers from their meticulous winter driving prep.

Get your car ready for winter, Scandinavian-style.
...in Sweden you must carry antifreeze, a shovel to clear snow, and a warning triangle.

In Ireland, traffic grinds to a halt as soon as a few flakes fall but when it snows in Scandinavia, traffic generally runs as usual. But being snow-ready is something deeply ingrained in the Scandinavian psyche and there are laws in place to deal with winter. In all Scandinavian countries bar Norway, drivers are required by law to swap over to winter tyres, and in some places it’s compulsory to carry snow chains too. Roads are salted at the first sign of snow and ice, and after a heavy snowfall, local farmers as well as municipal workers are mobilised to clear the roads. Carrying the right kit isn’t optional either. In Norway, it’s compulsory to have at least one visibility vest in your car and in Sweden you must carry antifreeze, a shovel to clear snow, and a warning triangle. And in Nordic neighbour Finland, speed limits are reduced from October to March.

Get your tyres right
winter tyres are made from a different rubber compound so they don’t harden in the cold, giving increased grip and greater safety.

Before your tyres come into contact with wet, snowy or icy road surfaces, you should make sure they are in perfect condition and have the right amount of air in them
When the temperature reaches freezing, switch to winter tyres. Effective on slush, ice, frost and wet roads, winter tyres are made from a different rubber compound so they don’t harden in the cold, giving increased grip and greater safety. Note they should be fitted in sets of four to avoid affecting the balance and stability of your car
Make sure your tyre tread depth is at least 3mm
Consider carrying snow chains, but only use them when the road is covered in snow or ice, not on a gritted road, otherwise you risk damaging the road surface and your car
Put on your lights
It’s a good idea to drive with your lights on even during daylight trips.

Carry the right kit*
Before setting off, make sure your mobile phone is fully charged, but remember to pull over if you need to use it #drivesafer

Before setting off, make sure your mobile phone is fully charged, but remember to pull over if you need to use it #drivesafer
Take a flask of hot drink and some water
Take warm clothes and blankets
Take an ice scraper, brush, and old rags
Make sure to completely de-ice your windscreen before you start your journey
Carry two warning triangles in case of difficulties
Carry antifreeze and a shovel to clear snow
Carrying spare headlight bulbs is also recommended
*Check out Liberty Insurance’s Pack Smarter Drive Safer blog for lots more tips on what to carry in your car all year round.

Plan your journey
Before you set out, check the Met Éireann weather forecast. When you’re on the road, reduce your speed and allow significantly more time to complete your journey when adverse conditions kick in. If it’s snowing heavily, ensure your headlights and number plates stay clear of snow, and if you’re on a long drive, pull over regularly for short breaks.

Of course, if the snow and ice does hit this winter, it’s much safer to stay home with a hot chocolate and the Borgen box set. But for those unavoidable journeys, we hope these tips will help you #DriveSafer. For more tips, visit our Facebook and Twitter pages or check out Winter Ready, a helpful website from the Department of Defence.

Get a car insurance quote today from Liberty Insurance.

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