The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising road users to take particular care on the roads as Met Éireann is warning of very strong winds and heavy wintry showers of hail, sleet and snow today and overnight.
Met Éireann has forecast strong to gale force westerly winds with possibly damaging gusts of between 110 and 130km/h country wide. As the evening progresses heavy wintry showers of hail, sleet and snow will develop in North of the country becoming widespread overnight.
The RSA is appealing to road users remain careful on the roads as strong winds and snow showers will produce blizzard like conditions and accumulations of snow, especially on higher grounds. Icy patches are expected at all levels tomorrow, Tuesday morning with wintry showers turning to rain as temperatures increase in the afternoon.
The RSA has issued the following advice: When driving in wet and windy conditions drivers are reminded that;
- It takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front.
- Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road
- Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds
- Take special care when driving behind goods vehicles as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility
- Allow extra space between you and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists
- Drive with dipped headlights at all times
- Be aware of the danger of aquaplaning especially on roads with 100 km/h and 120 km/h roads.
- Check tyres and consider replacing them if the thread depth is below 3mm
- Watch out for “black ice.” If the road looks polished or glossy it could be, “black ice” one of winter’s worst hazards: Black Ice is difficult to see! It is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. Watch out for black ice, especially in sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.
- If driving in snow, gently does it. Manoeuvre gently, slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Too much steering is bad and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.
- Falling snow, fog, rain, or hail will reduces visibility. Do not hang on to the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you as it can give a false sense of security. When you slow down, use your brakes so that the brake lights warn drivers behind you.
- Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.
Pedestrians and cyclists are advised to;
- Be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
- Take extra care when near traffic or crossing the road in extremely windy conditions as sudden gusts can blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
- While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your car or truck, DO NOT underestimate the danger of ice.
- Many slips and falls happen in places people regard as safe and secure, typically outside their front door, on the door step, on the path or while getting out of the car. It is very possible that a thin sheet of transparent ice or “Black Ice” is covering your pathway putting you at risk. When you approach a footpath or roadway that appears to be covered with ice, always use extreme caution.
- If walking or cycling in fog, make sure you are clearly visible by carrying a torch and wearing reflective clothing. Stay well in off the road where there is no footpath when vehicles are approaching.
Road users are advised to check local and National weather forecasts before setting out on a journey. To check weather updates visit Met Eireann’s website www.met.ie.
More information on using the roads in severe weather, can be found in the RSA’s publication ‘Severe Weather Advice for Road Users’.