“We wish you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year”
As we come to the end of 2017 we want to share some Personal, Home, Child and Winter Driving safety to help protect yourself and your family over the festive season.
We sincerely hope that you have an enjoyable and safe Christmas and a truly wonderful New Year. We’re looking forward to being ‘at your service’ for all your 2018 Insurance needs.
Christmas Safety at Home – Tree and Decorations
- Buy your decorations/tree from a reputable source checking that they meet safety standards.
- Ensure your decorations/tree are fire-resistant. This will reduce the risk of them catching fire however every care still needs to be taken.
- If your tree is real:
- be aware that some are sprayed with chemicals to prevent the needles from shedding. These chemicals can be flammable.
- Remember the drier the tree the more of a fire hazard it is
- Position your tree safely and securely away from doorways, passage ways, fire, radiators and heaters.
- Keep all related packaging in a secure place out of reach and sight of children
- Avoid decorations that are easily broken – this will help minimise cuts to children should they reach them.
- Check your decorations don’t contain small parts – these could pose a choking risk to children.
- Always buy fire- resistant decorations.
- Do not hang decorations near or from light fittings as this is a potential fire risk.
- Do not hang, attach or balance decorations, stockings or cards on the fireplace or surrounding area. Spark/heat from the fire could set them alight. They might also tempt children reach for the fireplace.
- If using heavy holders for Christmas stockings, be mindful that children may pull them down causing serious injury. Keep them out of reach of children.
- Check that they are working properly before you use them.
- Only buy Christmas lights from a reputable source and make sure they have a relevant safety symbol.
- If putting lights outdoors check that they are suitable for outdoor use – only use outdoor lights in outdoor locations!
- Do not use lights that are faulty.
- Make sure sockets are not overloaded.
- Keep flexes out of sight and reach of children.
- Be careful where you place Christmas lights – strands of lights can be a strangulation risk, while small lights or bits can be a choking hazard.
Christmas Top 10 Tips for Winter Driving
Check your tyres
They are your only contact with the road and should be at least the minimum legal thread depth of 1.6mm – replace before they get to this. Ensure they are at correct tyre pressure to give the best chance in extreme conditions.
Use your lights
During winter months, motorists are advised to use dipped headlights during the day. Headlights & tail-lights should be in working order.
Understand your brakes
Your car may have safety assist technology such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). These technologies can assist your driving in harsh weather conditions.
It takes longer to stop a car in winter weather so slow down, – allow extra distance between you and the car in front.
Make sure you can see clearly
Often motorists do not de-fog/de-ice windows/mirrors which can impare visibility. Ensure windows and mirrors are clear and carry a de- icer and screen scraper.
Beware of Black Ice
Black Ice – it is one of winter’s biggest hazards as it is difficult to see. Watch out for sheltered/shaded areas on roads, under trees and near high walls.
During these winter months it is advisable to carry essentials such as:-
❖ High visibility vest
❖ Spare fuel
❖ Appropriate footwear in case you need to leave your vehicle e.g. boots
❖ A hazard warning triangle
❖ Spare wheel (Spare wheel should be in good condition and fully inflated. You may
be an inflation repair kit instead of a spare wheel. Make sure you can use it) ❖A shovel
❖ Tow rope
❖ De-icing equipment (for glass and door locks)
❖ Spare bulbs
❖ First Aid kit
❖ A fire extinguisher & working torch
❖ A car blanket, additional clothing & some food and water
On the event of a breakdown
Drivers need to ensure their vehicle is well inoff the road so as not to obstruct other vehicles. Always put your hazard warning lights on. If the vehicle breaks down on the motorway pull in as far as you can, alerting traffic behind you with hazard lights. You should leave their vehicle, get behind the barrier (on the embankment) and call the Gardaí, on your mobile phone or roadside telephone.
Listen to local weather and traffic reports. Pay heed to the weather warnings alerting drivers of unsafe and dangerous driving conditions.
Check out the RSA’s publications
‘Severe Weather Advice for Road Users’ for more advice on what to do when severe weather strikes!