The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to prepare for cold weather conditions as Met Eireann have issued a Yellow Weather Warning for Snow and Ice for Monday and Tuesday.
Wintery showers of hail, sleet and snow are expected. With overnight temperatures expected around zero or below over the coming nights there is also a significant risk of icy patches, which will make road use hazardous. Snowfall accumulations are expected to affect the west and north of the country particularly on higher ground, but snow is possible at lower levels into Tuesday.
The RSA has the following practical advice for road users to cope with the icy, hail and snow conditions:
- Clear windows and mirrors before you set out, use 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. 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.
- In snow or sleet conditions, visibility will be reduced. 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 snow, use your fog lights, turn off your radio and open your window a fraction, so you can hear other traffic, especially at junctions.
- Use dipped headlights at all times, and fog lights in heavy snow to ensure you are seen by other motorists (but don’t forget to turn them off afterwards).
- Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space when overtaking them.
- Drivers of high sided vehicles like trucks and buses are particularly at risk from both the dangers posed by ice and snow but also from the high winds associated with strong winds.
- Drivers need to be on guard to the potential danger posed by hailstones. If you encounter hail stones reduce your speed, without breaking if possible. Warn other drivers by using your hazard warning lights. Driving slowly in a high gear will help your tyres maintain grip even as your tyres move over the compacted pellets of ice. Accelerate and brake very gently, and drive particularly slowly on bends where loss of control is more likely. Avoiding sudden actions. See video on driving in Hailstones
For a copy of the RSA’s ‘Top 10 tips for driving in snow or icy conditions’ click here.
Pedestrians are advised to:
- Be seen. Wear bright clothing but ideally wear a high visibility jacket, reflective armband or reflective belt.
- Wear appropriate footwear. Walk on the footpath, not in the street. Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.
- 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. When you approach a footpath or roadway that appears to be covered with snow or ice, always use extreme caution.
For a copy of the RSA’s ‘Top 10 tips to avoid a fall or slip in snow or icy conditions’ click here.
Cyclists and Motorcyclists are advised:
- Visibility is reduced in snowy conditions so cyclists should wear a Sam Browne Bandoleer belt or high visibility vest and ensure the lights on your bike are working correctly.
- Motorcyclists should avoid wearing a dark visor in any bad light conditions.
- Remember other road users may not ‘expect’ you and could therefore comprise your safety
More safety tips for Pedestrians, Cyclists and Motorcyclists using the roads in snow and icy conditions can be found here.
For advice on severe weather driving tips and weather updates, please see severe weather advice on the RSA website or check out the RSA Facebook and Twitter pages.
See advice on driving in ice or snow in our series of severe weather warning videos created in collaboration with Teresa Mannion.
For more weather updates visit Met Eireann’s website www.met.ie