RSA and AA warn all road users to be cautious during wintry conditions

The RSA and the AA are warning all road users to be cautious during wintry conditions.

A yellow weather warning is in place for Ireland for snow showers until 9am tomorrow. 1 to 3cm of snow is expected especially in Ulster, Connaught and Leinster with higher accumulations on hills and mountains.

Gardaí report that the Sally Gap Rd (R759) and Old Military Rd (R115) are closed at the Sally Gap, as the roads is impassable due to snow.

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 (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.

With added risks posed by wet or flooded roads the RSA has the following advice;

  • 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

Advice to Pedestrians & Cyclists;

  • 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.
  • 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  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.

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