The RSA and An Garda Síochána’s annual Christmas and New Year Road Safety Campaign focus on drinking and driving this year. Alcohol is a contributory factor in 38% of fatal crashes in the lead up to Christmas, according to the analysis of Garda investigation files for fatal crashes in the months of November and December: Alcohol factors in 2 in 5 fatal crashes in the lead up to Christmas.
The Minister for Transport in Ireland, Shane Ross, said: “The ultimate aim of our appeal this year is to warn the public about the impact alcohol has on road safety. The statistics revealed today by the RSA and Gardai clearly indicate that alcohol remains the primary contributory factor in fatal crashes and is responsible for far too many deaths and injuries on Irish roads. Given the more difficult driving conditions typical of this time of year, November and December are already particularly dangerous months for driving. However, the statistics show that road safety is diminished further in these months due to the consumption of alcohol and speeding. I appeal to all those socialising during the Christmas and New Year period to do so responsibly and never, ever, drink and drive“.
- Another analysis of preliminary Garda data from 2008-2016, reveals that a total of 292 road users were killed in the months of November and December. The average number of fatalities each month for this nine-year period was 16 in November and 16 in December. The new RSA analysis also shows that:
- Dublin, Cork and Galway had the highest number of RTC fatalities in November and December and accounted for almost a third (32%) of the total number of fatalities that occurred during this time period.
- The most prevalent times of day were between 4pm-8pm (33%) and 12pm-4pm (23%), followed by 12am-6am (22%).
- RTC fatalities were more prevalent on Sundays (21%). The most dangerous time of day on Sundays was midnight-6am.
- Drivers represent almost half (46%) of all road users killed in Nov/Dec;
- Pedestrians represent over a quarter (26%) of fatalities, while passengers account for almost one fifth (18%).
Ms Liz O Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority, said: “Any amount of alcohol impairs driving. In fact, just one drink can affect your driving. That is not a theory this is scientific fact. So, if you are heading to an office party or socialising over the Christmas and New Year period, make sure you plan how you are going to get home safely. Leave the keys at home and book a taxi, hackney, use public transport or designate a driver. Do not leave it to chance because once you have that first drink, you will not be able to make the right choices. This advice also applies if you are intending to walk home after socialising too. Crash data shows that alcohol could be a factor in almost half [46%] of pedestrian deaths. Too many people have lost their lives in the past by walking home drunk on roads with poor visibility. Please don’t take the chance.”
Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, An Garda Síochána, said: “An Garda Síochána is launching its six-week Christmas and New year road safety campaign. This will include a focus on Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints around the country to deter people from drinking and driving. The Gardaí will not just be targeting drink drivers at night or in the early hours of the morning during the Christmas period, but also during morning rush hour as many drivers could still be over the legal limit if they have been drinking the night before. There has been a 12% increase in drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence up to end of October 2017. While it is disappointing to see so many refusing to heed our advice, this clearly shows that our members are out there enforcing drink driving laws. The consequences of drink driving for you and others could be very serious and range from losing your licence to living with the guilt of being responsible for someone’s death or severe injury. Please don’t take the risk this Christmas – don’t drink and drive.”
Pedestrian & Cyclist Safety
To promote pedestrian and cyclist safety over the festive period the RSA has teamed up with the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) to distribute 50,000 high visibility jackets to almost 4,000 publicans for distribution free of charge to their patrons to ensure they get home safely over the Christmas and New Year period.
The RSA and An Garda Síochána’s are supporting Coca Cola’s 13th annual Designated Driver campaign which is encouraging the nation to give the ‘Gift of a Lift’ this Christmas to help keep our roads safe. The campaign running across Ireland and Northern Ireland have been offering free soft drinks, water or juice to designated drivers from the 28th November.
To date this year, 143 people have been killed on Irish roads, a decrease of 26 when compared to the same period last year.
– By ANewDriver
Is warming up your car in the cold useful or does it harm the engine?
In the thick of winter, the common wisdom is that when you are gearing up to take your car out in the cold and possibly snow, you should step outside, start up your engine, and let it idle to warm up. But contrary to popular belief, this does not prolong the life of your engine; in fact, it may decrease it by stripping oil away from the engine’s cylinders and pistons.
When your engine is cold, petrol is less likely to evaporate and create the correct ratio of air and vaporised fuel for combustion. Modern engines with electronic fuel injection have sensors that compensate for the cold by pumping more gasoline into the mixture. The engine continues to run rich in this way until it heats up to about 4 or 5 degrees Celsius.
Driving your car is the fastest way to warm the engine up to 4/5 degrees so it switches back to a normal fuel to air ratio. Even though warm air generated by the radiator will flow into the cabin after a few minutes, idling does surprisingly little to warm the actual engine. The best thing to do is start the car, take a minute to knock the ice off your windows, and get going. Have a good cloth or window wiper sponge (available in all garages or motor factors) for inside use to quickly remove the inside mist/fog that builds up on your windscreen, to avoid dangerous visibility.
Of course, hopping into your car and gunning it straightaway will put unnecessary strain on your engine. It takes 5 to 15 minutes for your engine to warm up, so take it nice and easy for the first part of your drive.
The long-held notion that you should let your car idle in the cold is only true for vehicles carburettor engines. Warming up your car before driving is a leftover practice from a time when carbureted engines dominated the roads, in the 70’s and 80’s. Carburetors mix gasoline and air to make vaporised fuel to run an engine, but they don’t have sensors that tweak the amount of gasoline when it’s cold out. As a result, you have to let older cars warm up before driving or they will stall out. But it’s been about 30 years since carbureted engines were common in cars.
Autumn is here with its amazing colours! But before you hit the road and enjoy the stunning orange, red and yellow scenery, there are some autumn driving safety tips you need to keep in mind.
While you may think that winter is the most dangerous season for driving, autumn driving also has many hazards. Fall driving can be unpredictable as the weather is constantly changing and the days are getting shorter.
So here are some important tips to keep in mind when driving this fall season:
- Sunlight – As the season changes, so does the position of the sun and the glare generated. Glare can be dangerous when driving as it decreases visibility. It is important to ensure your eyes are protected and your visibility is clear. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses that will give you a clear view of the road.
- Weather Conditions – It is important for drivers to pay attention to road conditions during the fall transition. Fall has mixed weather. Rain can cause flooding on roadways and hydroplaning can be a concern with the excessive water on the road. If you encounter a road with excess water, ensure you slow down as speed can result in a loss of traction. In the event of severe rain, you may want to pull off the road safely and wait until the rain stops or at least slows down. Another concern is black ice – a transparent ice lawyer on top of the road that may look like a little puddle of water or may not even be easily visible at all.
- Be alert – As the days get shorter, drivers are faced with driving to work in the dark and driving home in the dark. Autumn is when we ‘fall back’ with our clocks, so the end of daylight saving time means earlier sunsets and reduced visibility on the roads, increasing unfamiliar driving conditions. Even on regular routes, drivers should exercise caution and adjust their driving, making allowances for seeing pedestrians, cyclists and all other roadway users.
- Watch Out for the Leaves – There are 2 types of hazards to consider when thinking about autumn leaves: the first one is related to the fact that people love to stop their cars to admire the stunning colours and views and the second one is linked to the hazard that leaves represent for drivers on the road. When pulling your can over, ensure to do it in a safe manner that does not interfere with other drivers on the road. And if you are cruising, watch out for the leaves: when they become wet, they become slippery and can result in dangerous driving conditions.
- Check your Vehicle before Driving – Take good care of your car, and it should take good care of you! With a change in the temperature, tires will contract and expand, reducing their pressure. Maintaining tire pressure and ensuring tires are well maintained is key to driving safely in the fall. Before you head out on your autumn driving trip, be sure to take your car in for a basic inspection of its fluids, tire pressure, windshield wipers, brakes, engine, and other critical parts.
It is important for drivers, regardless of their experience, to ensure they are prepared for the road conditions. If you need a refresher course or want to develop better autumn and winter driving skills, contact ANewDriver today!
– By ANewDriver
How to Drive Safely in Strong Wind – It is important to understand how to drive safely in windy conditions. Driving in conditions that involve strong or heavy wind can significantly increase your risk and potential for dangerous situations on the road. It may not seem like the most pressing safety concern for many drivers, but safety professionals know that driving in any type of severe weather is risky.
Severe weather demands undivided attention. It is important to reduce any possible distractions, such as turning the radio down or turning off a phone. Keep your attention fully on the road. Also, consider that sometimes the best driving decision you can make is to stay off the road completely until the weather clears.
A Strong wind can occur just about anywhere, but it can be more common in wide open spaces. Areas of concern also include highway overpasses and tunnels that can act as funnels for the wind.
In case you must drive in windy conditions, here are some tips on how to stay safe and reduce accident risks.
- Take special care when driving through areas prone to strong winds or when weather reports predict severe weather. Always avoid it if possible.
- Be aware of large vehicles on the road such as tractor-trailers and recreational vehicles. They are more susceptible to high winds and drivers may have difficulties staying in their lanes.
- Keep a firm grip on the wheel. Keep both hands on the wheel in case the wind begins to move your vehicle, especially if you are driving a large vehicle or towing a trailer.
- Take your time. Try to stay at a constant speed and not to turn the vehicle suddenly.
- Be aware of water, oil and others spillages that may have occurred on the road due to the heavy wind.
- Take ‘driving on wet roads’ precautions if the wind is accompanied by rain. Also be mindful of leaves and other objects (please read AUTUMN HAZARDS for more details here).
The infographic below also shows personal safety tips to keep in mind when weather conditions involve strong winds.