The Road Safety Authority (RSA), is advising road users to take extra care on the roads, as Met Éireann forecasst a cold weekend ahead with overnight temperatures falling between 0 and -3 degrees countrywide.
Turning cold after dark, widespread frost and icy patches will form this evening and overnight. Some mist and fog patches may develop also. Met Éireann has forecast a mostly dry and cold day tomorrow, Saturday, with temperatures dropping between 0 and -3 degrees again overnight with frost and icy patches forming also.
The RSA has issued the following advice:
• Check local and National weather forecasts before setting out on a journey. Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out, carry a screen scraper and de-icer. Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass.
• Use your dipped headlights so that others will see you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are all in working order, replace broken bulbs.
• 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.
• Check tyres, including spare wheel, replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm and make sure they are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Lack of grip can occur even on treated roads so drive slowly in the highest gear possible, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking.
• In icy conditions 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.
• Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.
• In patches of fog, switch on fog lamps where visibility is reduced. As you enter fog, check your mirrors and slow down. Use your foot brake lightly so that your lights warn following drivers.
• Do not drive on the tail-lights of the vehicle in front (Target Fixing). This can give a false sense of security and you will be too close to be able to brake safely. In heavy fog, turn off your radio and let down your driver’s window a fraction, so as you can hear the presence of other traffic.
• Remember to switch off your fog lights once the foggy conditions improve.
Pedestrians and cyclists are advised to;
• Be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
• 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.
Visit the RSA’s website for more information on Severe Weather Advice for road users. Visit your local authority website to view the road gritting plan for each county and the roads being treated in your area.