Seven Common road hazards and how to avoid them

Aviva Car Insurance

When it comes to hazards, it’s often the simple things that can catch us out. A hazard is something that will make you consider either slowing down or changing direction. They generally fall into three types; environmental, physical features and other road users.

Here are seven examples of common hazards, and how to deal with them.

Common road hazards and how to avoid them

Environmental Hazards

Sun glare

Being dazzled by the low winter sun can be a particular problem at this time of year. Anything that impairs your vision is a massive danger – but thankfully, the solutions are straightforward.

Having a pair of sunglasses or using your car’s sun visor are some of the simplest ways of reducing the impact of the sun. Take a look at our guidelines for driving in bright sunlight for more safety measures. 

Icy roads

Icy roads are one of the most dangerous driving conditions we can find ourselves in. In icy and snowy conditions, your car’s stopping distance can be increased ten-fold. It’s important you check your car ahead of any journey in icy weather and know how to react if you encounter very icy patches or indeed black ice.

Everything you need to know about driving in ice and snow.

Heavy rain

Cold and wet weather conditions are amongst the most common hazards for drivers and, with Ireland’s climate involving its fair share of rain, dealing with a downfall is something everyone has to be ready for.

Reducing your speed is an obvious step to take; so is increasing your following distance to a minimum of four seconds. It’s also vital to ensure your car is ready for the conditions; a regular service will include testing your brakes, tyres, lights and wipers.

For more safety guidelines for driving in heavy rain and flooding, we have you covered.

Physical Features


A very common physical feature in a rural environment is a bend in the road. The problem with a bend is that it affects your speed and your vision. This means that the less you see, the slower you should go.


Potholes on the road surface are a bit of a double-whammy for drivers - while hitting the pothole can cause damage to your car or send your car out of control. It can be equally dangerous to suddenly swerve in an effort to avoid it.

As with any obstacle, the earlier you can spot it the better, so be alert at all times to the road ahead. Slow down, maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel and drive around the pothole only if it’s safe to do so.  Again, practicing good time and space on the road means you’ll have longer to safely react to a pothole.

A consequence of hitting a pothole, could be that you get a tyre puncture or blowout and this can be frightening when it happens.

Call for roadside assistance and wait somewhere safe. With Aviva car insurance, breakdown rescue cover is included as standard on your policy. We’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if it happens to you.

Of course, the best cure is prevention, which is why it’s important to make sure your tyres are up to scratch. Follow our tyre safety guide for everything you need to look out for.

If you want to learn how to change a tyre for yourself, check out our step-by-step guide to how to change your tyre in 12 steps.

Other Road Users

Pedestrians and cyclists

Speed limits reduce dramatically in busy areas for good reason; slowing down is the easiest way to avoid dangerous accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.

Allow plenty of room for cyclists sharing the road, especially when overtaking. Always anticipate the possibility of a cyclist at a junction and check your mirrors and blind spots in order to minimise the chance of a collision. The same thing applies once you’ve parked up too; suddenly opening a door can be a threat to cyclists, so check your mirrors and blind spots every time before you open that door.

Heavy traffic

Busy roads can increase your chances of an accident; that’s not rocket science. But navigating congestion isn’t all that complicated either; it’s heavily reliant on the fundamentals of safe driving and being mindful of time and space.

Keeping a safe distance from other cars, making use of your mirrors, signaling before changing lanes or making other manoeuvres and exercising caution when overtaking are all part and parcel of safety behind the wheel, but they become even more important when the road is busy.

Even if you’re alert to seven of the biggest road hazards above, you should have a look at our tips to survive an unexpected breakdown, just to be extra safe.

With Aviva car insurance, you get a courtesy car for up to seven days while yours is being fixed by an Aviva Motor Services repairer if you make a claim under your policy after an accident. If you buy your car insurance online, you’ll get a 15% discount1. We also reward safe driving – we offer up to 50% off the price of your car insurance when you have five years claims free driving in your own name. Get your quote today.

We encourage our customers, where possible, to make use of our online options to access any help you need. If you have a query you can reach us via our contact forms. MyAviva is an online self-service portal available to all our home and car insurance customers.

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Get a quote or learn more about our car insurance.

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1. Offer of 15% discount only applies to new car insurance policies bought online. Acceptance criteria, terms and conditions apply. Subject to a minimum premium of €310 for car insurance. Aviva reserves the right to withdraw, suspend or amend this offer or any of the terms and conditions there of at any time without prior notice.

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