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Dublin: 6°C Wednesday 19 May 2021

Road users urged to be cautious when out tonight and tomorrow

The RSA has offered tips to people who will be driving during this period, when orange and yellow weather warnings have been issued.

Source: RSA Ireland/YouTube

ROAD USERS ARE being urged to exercise caution while out today and much of tomorrow, after Met Éireann issued orange and yellow weather warnings due to bad weather.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has made the appeal as the country braces itself for Storm Fionn.

Met Éireann has issued a Status Orange weather warning for eight counties, and a Status Yellow wind warning for six counties as the storm approaches. Heavy rain and snow have already been reported in parts of Ireland today.

The Status Orange weather warning was issued for strong winds for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork and Kerry from 3pm today until 3am Wednesday.

Storm Fionn is expected to bring very strong westerly winds to Atlantic coastal counties with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/hr and gusts of up to 120km/hr. It’s set to be strongest in coastal areas with a risk of flooding.

A Status Yellow warning is also in place for strong winds for Leinster, Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford from 11am today until 3am on Wednesday. Westerly winds are expected to reach mean speeds of 55 to 65km/hr with gusts of 90 to 110km/hr in these areas.

In addition, a Status Yellow warning is in place for Ireland for snow showers from 1pm today until 9am tomorrow. Snow is expected in Ulster, Connaught and north Leinster.

Because of this extreme weather, the RSA is asking road users to check national and local weather updates over the weekend and to also check local road and traffic conditions before making a trip.

Meanwhile, Dublin City Council’s Community Development Section, in association with ALONE, the Gardaí and Dublin Fire Brigade, is re-issuing an appeal to urge members of the public to check in on older people in their community this winter.

Following a series of weather warnings, they are asking people to check in with the older and vulnerable members of their communities to ensure they have fuel, food, water and are in good communication with family, friends and neighbours.

shutterstock_583730665 Source: Shutterstock/Sundry Photography

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Road advice

The RSA has also given the following advice for road users when travelling in strong winds:

  • Beware of objects being blown out onto the road. Expect the unexpected. Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road.
  • Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong crosswinds. High sided vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds
  • Drivers should allow extra space between themselves and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.
  • Use dipped headlights at all times

When driving in icy and snowy conditions, motorists are advised to:

  • Remove all snow from your vehicle before commencing your 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
  • 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
  • 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 – 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 you can hear other traffic.

When there are added risks posed by wet or flooded roads, the RSA says:

  • It takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front
  • Take special care when driving behind goods vehicles as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility
  • Be aware of the danger of aquaplaning especially on roads with speed limits of 100 km/h and 120 km/h
  • If the road ahead is flooded choose another route, do not attempt to drive through it. Flooded roads that appear shallow could be deeper than you think
  • After going through water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal for a short distance – this helps to dry the brakes.

Meanwhile, for pedestrians and cyclists, the RSA advises;

  • Be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt
  • Take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle
  • Walk on a footpath, not in the street
  • Walk on the right-hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.

The authority says that people should 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 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.

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.

Read: Status Orange wind warning issued as snow-ice Storm Fionn approaches>

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