2020 news

11 March 2020

Road Safety Alert – Orange and Yellow Weather Warnings Issued

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), is asking road users to exercise caution while using the roads over the next few days as Met Eireann has issued Orange and Yellow weather warnings for strong winds and snow/ice.

Met Eireann has issued an Orange Wind weather warning for Donegal from 8am -12pm Thursday 12 March. Southwest winds veering west to northwest will reach mean wind speeds of 60 to 75 km/h with gusts of 100 to 120 km/h. Due to a combination of waves, spring tides and surge, the possibility of coastal flooding is increased on Thursday.

A yellow Snow /Ice weather warning is also in place for Donegal from 3pm Wednesday 11 March to 8am Thursday in advance of the wind warning. Showers will turn increasingly wintry during Wednesday with a mix of hail, sleet and snow, leading to icy conditions on untreated surfaces. Some localised accumulations will occur.

There is a further yellow wind weather warning in place for Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Dublin, Louth, Meath, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo and Clare from 4am Thursday to 6pm Thursday. Southwest winds veering west to northwest will reach mean wind speeds of 50 to 65 km/h and gusts of 80 to 110 km/h. Due to a combination of waves, spring tides and surge, the possibility of coastal flooding is increased along western and northwestern coasts on Thursday.


Road users in areas affected by the Orange and yellow Warnings are advised to check local traffic and weather conditions before setting out on a journey. The following advice is being given to road users.

Motorists;

  • Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.
  • Beware of objects being blown onto the road. Expect road conditions to change quickly in high winds so reduce your speed.
  • Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road.
  • 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.
  • Drivers need to slow down in wet weather conditions, especially on high speed roads such as dual carriageways and motorways where there is increased danger of aquaplaning.
  • 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. They may also have trees or branches that have fallen that may not be visible.
  • Road users should always follow recommended routes and obey signs closing roads to traffic.
  • After going through water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal for a short distance - this helps to dry the brakes.
  • Drive with dipped headlights at all times.

Advice to Pedestrians, Cyclists and motorcyclists;

  • Visibility and light is reduced in poor weather conditions. Keep safe by making sure you can 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, where possible and not in the street. If there is a footpath and it is safe to use, look out for falling debris from above, especially in urban areas.
  • Walk on the right-hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.
  • Cyclist should ensure that they and their bike are visible to other road users by investing in a good set of front and rear lights (white at the front, red at the back) and by wearing clothes that help you be seen on your bike such as bright and light reflective items.

In terms of practical advice for road users to cope with the icy and snowy conditions the RSA is advising drivers to:

  • 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 blizzard conditions, visibility will be reduced greatly. 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.
  • Drivers of high sided vehicles like trucks and buses are particularly at risk from both the dangers posed by snow but also from the high winds.

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 doorstep, 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:

  • Motorcyclists / Cyclists should not compromise their safety by their ‘need’ to travel in icy/snow conditions. Cancel your journey or take alternative transport.
  • 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, please see severe weather advice on the RSA website or check out the RSA Facebook and Twitter pages.

Please also see our severe weather warning videos created in collaboration with Teresa Mannion here. See advice with advice for driving in strong winds here.

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 


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