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Road Safety Alert – Snow-ice Warning for Westmeath

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to take extra care when using the roads as Met Éireann has issued weather warnings for scattered snow showers and icy conditions over the weekend.

Significant falls of snow are expected Saturday night and into Sunday. Accumulations of 4 to 8 cm could occur quite widely with greater totals possible. Drifting snow locally at times too with brisk winds. Slippery paths and treacherous roads also due to snow accumulation and ice.

The RSA is asking road users to check local weather and traffic conditions and be aware of the conditions before setting out on a trip. The RSA has the following advice for road users, when driving in icy and snowy conditions:

  • 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.
  • 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. It can occur especially in sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.
  • Use dipped headlights at all times to ensure you are seen by other motorists.
  • Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.
  • Remove ALL snow from your vehicle before commencing your journey. Snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen during braking, thereby causing sudden and severe restriction to your vision. It can also fall off during your drive and cause injury to pedestrians or a reflex action by another driver.
  • In snow and icy conditions slow down, use all controls delicately and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Avoid over steering and harsh braking and harsh acceleration. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.
  • 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 other traffic.
  • The best thing to do in extremely bad weather is to stay off the road. Take heed of warnings not to go out and travel only if absolutely necessary. If you must travel please try and use routes treated with salt. See link to Westmeath County Council Winter Service Routes Map here: Winter Service Plan 2017 2018 Routes

Pedestrians and cyclists are advised to:

  • While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your vehicle, don’t 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. Take extra care. 

For advice on driving and walking in snow please see the following from the RSA - 

RSA Video for Driving in Snow

For further weather updates, visit the Met Eireann’s website 

Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 08/12/2017