The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to take extra care when using the roads as Met Eireann has issued a yellow weather warning nationwide from tonight until Thursday evening. Showers will turn wintry tonight in the north and west, with a risk of icy patches. Wintry showers will bring snow accumulations of up to 3 cm at lower levels during tomorrow and through Thursday, with all areas at risk. Showers will be most frequent in the west and north and over hills and mountains with higher accumulations expected there. Wednesday night will be extremely cold and will be well below freezing with frost and ice making for hazardous driving conditions.

The RSA has issued the following advice:

· Check local and National weather forecasts before setting out on a 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.

· 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 manoeuvre gently, slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Too much steering is bad and avoid harsh braking and 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.

· To prevent windscreen wipers from freezing and seizing up in freezing fog, add anti-freeze screen washer to the water tank. Check that the wipers for wear and tear and replace them if they are.

· 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.

· Use your dipped headlights so that others will see you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are all in working order, replace broken bulbs.

· Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.

· Check tyres, including spare wheel, replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm and make sure they are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Lack of grip can occur even on treated roads so drive slowly in the highest gear possible, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking.

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.

For further information please contact:
RSA Communications Department – 096 25008

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