Road safety tips for driving during bad weather
As we continue to come to terms with the damage inflicted across Ireland by Storm Ophelia earlier in the week, Met Eireann is already warning the public to ready itself for the possible arrival of Storm Brian and potential flooding, concluding the most extreme week of Irish storms since 1961.
In advance of these extreme weather conditions, Deirdre Ashe, Director of Personal Lines at Liberty Insurance, offers some top tips on staying safe at home and on the road in the days ahead.
According to Ms Ashe; “Storm Ophelia has caused huge damage throughout the country and further bad weather, including heavy rainfall, severe flooding and strong winds, is expected this weekend.
“We would like to reassure people that home insurance and motor insurance policies apply as normal in a storm or flooding, and we have extended our opening hours and increased resources to support our customers during this time.
“We would urge people to continue to stay safe this weekend and take every precaution both when at home and on the road.”
Prevent further damage to your home
1. Clear all drains of leaves and debris to prevent blockages and allow the run-off of rainwater on your property.
2. Where trees or branches have become further unstable and are at risk of falling, contact your local council or a tree surgeon to prevent further damage occurring. Do not attempt to cut down any unstable trees or branches yourself.
3. Move all garden furniture and children’s play equipment indoors. If this is not possible, ensure that it is sufficiently tied down or moved to a place of shelter. Loose items such as trampolines, waste bins and potted plants can all become projectiles once the storm brews.
4. Check all roof tiles. Where they may be loose, do not attempt to fix them yourself. Contact your insurer’s Emergency Home Assistance services.
Take care when driving
1. Be sure to stay up to date on minute by minute weather and traffic reports – that way you’ll anticipate and avoid dangerous roadways.
2. Strong winds may affect control of your vehicle, particularly high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists so allow extra space on the road. Make sure there is plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. This should be a minimum of four seconds in heavy rain.
3. Anticipate gusts. Take special care when driving through areas prone to strong winds or when weather reports predict severe weather.
4. Watch out for loose objects and fallen branches that may have been blown on to the road.
5. Use your demister to keep your windscreen clear.
6. Use dipped headlights at all times when driving.
7. Stock A Winter Emergency Kit. In the event that you do have to pull over during the storm or find yourself with a broken-down vehicle, be prepared with a winter emergency kit. Recommended items include: a flashlight and batteries, hand-warmers, blankets, drinking water, shovel and ice scraper, jumper cables, and standalone emergency lights or flares.
8. Finally, don’t panic! Home insurance and motor insurance policies apply as normal in a storm. Insurance cover is not impacted by the weather conditions.
Liberty Insurance customers can call us on 1850 858 530 to notify us of a claim; Our Home Emergency and Breakdown Assistance Teams are also available to our customers. For more information visit the Liberty Insurance Safety Centre on www.libertyinsurance.ie/ safety-centre.