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Driving over Christmas? Here's what you need to know...

This year’s Christmas weather is expected to be a lot milder than in Christmas 2010, but motorists are being warned not to get complacent about driving conditions.

A WHITE CHRISTMAS looks increasingly unlikely with the arrival of (slightly) warmer weather this week.

The good news is that driving conditions are expected to be much, much better than last year as people travel around the country for Christmas. However, AA Roadwatch is warning motorists not to get complacent about their journeys over the festive season.

Sunny spells and scattered rain are forecast for the earlier part of this week, according to Met Éireann, with early indications that conditions will dry up for Christmas Eve.

The milder temperatures of between 10 and 13 degrees in the first half of the week are expected to dip slightly towards the weekend, dropping to between 5 and 10 degrees during the day on Friday and  around 1 degree that night. Irish Weather Online says that temperatures on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be between 4 to 12 degrees.

Top tips for driving over Christmas:

Road conditions

  • Motorists should continue to keep an eye on road temperatures before starting out on any journey. Conditions can be checked on the AA’s website.
  • Designated drivers need to be careful driving on frosty roads at night and watch for black ice. A spokesperson for AA Roadwatch said that stopping distances could be increased by up to ten times in icy conditions.
  • Gentle manoeuvres are recommended on icy roads.

Car conditions

  • The AA’s call-out teams see a spike in calls over flat batteries at this time of year. You can help prevent such battery problems by giving the cold engine little time to warm up before starting all the electrics.
  • Instead of using the windscreen wipers to clear frost; instead use a scraper or a warm, damp cloth to clear the windscreen.
  • Always check your tyres before starting on a long journey.


  • People driving home for Christmas should be aware of their fatigue levels and should plan their journey in advance.
  • Identify safe places to pull in if you need refreshments or a break. (i.e. NOT the hard should of a motorway, which should only be used in absolute emergencies.)
  • If taking a break, try to get a caffeine drink, take a 15-minute power nap, and get out and stretch your legs.
  • Share the driving, when possible.

Do you have any tips for tackling long car journeys over the festive season? Share them in the comments below.

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