The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to take extra care when using the roads over the next 72 hours as Met Eireann has issued a yellow weather warning nationwide for sleet, snow and ice. Very cold wintry weather will develop from Wednesday evening and will last until midday on Saturday. There is a risk of 3-5cm snow nationwide with particularly heavy falls expected in Ulster, Connaught, North Leinster and West Munster. The low temperatures will mean roads may be icy.
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 issued the following advice:
- 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.
- 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. Too much steering is bad and avoid 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.
- Remember that heavy snowfall and rain reduce visibility. Use dipped headlights and decrease speed smoothly.
- 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.
- 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.
- Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.
- 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. This leaves the emergency services free to deal with real emergencies instead of rounding up stranded motorists caught in snow.
Pedestrians and cyclists are advised to:
- While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your vehicle, 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.
Please also see our new severe weather warning videos created in collaboration with Teresa Mannion with advice for driving in snow and icy conditions here. Our severe weather advice video for driving on icy roads can be seen here. Our severe weather advice video for driving in snowy conditions can be seen here.
For advice on severe weather driving tips, please see severe weather advice on the RSA website or check out the RSA Facebook and Twitter pages.
For more weather updates, visit Met Eireann’s website www.met.ie
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 11/01/2017