Friday 9 September 2016

Dangerous drives

Driving is a lifeline to us. Living in rural Wales where public transport can be sporadic at best driving and having our own car means we can get anywhere and everywhere without hassle.

As the children are getting older the stereotype of parent being a taxi driver is coming true with us having to taxi them to friends parties, playdates, toddler groups and sports classes. Whilst having our own car is a blessing to be able to keep up with the kids’ busy social life as I am driving around precious cargo I make sure to be extra careful and vigilant when driving on dangerous roads.

Here in Wales driving can be rather hazardous. Small country roads can cause chaos and accidents galore. Whilst many roads travel through beautiful surroundings such roads that wind through magnificent mountains and small one-way country roads lead to idyllic beaches, the roads can be very dangerous to drive on especially during summer time when the roads get busier with holidaymakers who are unsure where they are driving and don’t know how to deal with the country roads!

A few key hazardous roads in Wales include the Black Mountain Road (A4069) that twists, dips and climbs through the Brecon Beacons National Park, the A44 between Llangurig and Aberystwyth which has been ranked to be Wales’ most dangerous road (the road we travel when heading to Leeds to visit Lee’s family), and the B4329 which travels across the Preseli mountains where you have to watch for roaming sheep that think nothing of being in the middle of the road (we have to travel this road often to visit family back in Ceredigion).

The car also comes in handy for family days out and travelling for holidays across the UK and Ireland. As our recent 600 mile round road trip to Leeds - plus a visit to Scarborough too - was such a success even with 2 young children we have lots of plans for more road trips across the UK with our current wish list including Blackpool, Liverpool and Ireland.

As we have experience of driving on treacherous roads here in Wales and hope to have lots of family road trips over the years here are a few things we have learnt about keeping safe and being prepared for the worst when driving on dangerous roads whether that is an accident or a breakdown because even the most skilled driver can find themselves in trouble thanks to road conditions, the weather or other drivers -

* Be prepared - ensure car is safe and in good working condition before journeys checking essentials such as tyres, oil, coolant level, and petrol
* Plan - it can be useful to plan your route carefully beforehand and if you get lost or the route changes remain calm and pull over when safe to do so to figure out where you need to go to get back on track rather than try to use a map or sat nav whilst driving!
* Space - keep as much space around your car and others so that you have time and room to manoeuvre or carry out an emergency stop if needed
* First Aid Kit - an essential ready for emergencies and minor injuries whilst on your travels
* Empty fuel can - if you run out of fuel having an empty fuel can in the car can come in handy if you are not too far from a petrol station that you can safely walk to so that you don’t have to call a breakdown service
* High-visibility vest - as you cannot guarantee to breakdown or have an accident in good weather (the chases of an accident happening increases in bad weather) having a high-visibility vest to wear when outside of the car can help other drivers see where you are helping to keep you safe
* Warning triangle - essential if you breakdown or have an accident especially in the dark to warn other drivers you are there to reduce the risk of collision
* Fire extinguisher - important to have just in case the worst happens and you need to use one
* Torch - if you breakdown or have an accident in the dark a torch is a must-have item
* Blanket - having a blanket it the car just in case can come in handy to keep you warm when waiting for help if you breakdown or have an accident
* Keep kids safe - ensure children are correctly protected in suitable and correct car seats that are fitted correctly
* Avoid distractions - ignore the mobile phone (even hands free can be a distraction) and don’t be tempted to fiddle with the music system as it only takes one second of taking you eye off the road to get into danger

As Lee has never been to Ireland - I have a few times when I was younger - and we live close to ports that offer daily ferry crossings to Ireland going on a road trip there is top of our list. As we plan on taking the car with us so that we can have an Irish road trip and explore what the country has to offer I have made sure to take a look at Chill Insurance’s infographic about Ireland’s Most Dangerous Drives so that we can know what roads to look out for and be wary of.

The car insurance company surveyed 650 Irish drivers to find out the most dangerous roads to drive on and what Irish drivers think of their roads. Take a look to see Ireland’s Most Dangerous Drives -

dangerous drives infographic

With Dublin being voted the county with the most dangerous roads we will have to take care and drive carefully when visiting Dublin where by the sounds of it there are a few roads that will test our motoring skills and nerves!

Have you driven in Ireland? Do you have any dangerous drives where you live? 

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