The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to take extreme care when using the roads over the coming days as Met Éireann has issued an orange weather alert warning of further wintry showers this evening, overnight and on Tuesday of rain, hail, sleet and snow.  Accumulations of greater than 3 cm are possible even on lower ground with thunderstorms too. Widespread frosty and icy conditions will develop.

The RSA also advises road users to:

·         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.

·         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.

·         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

·         Beware of objects being blown out onto the road and to expect the unexpected. In particular watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road. Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.

Pedestrians should take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in windy showers and during spells of hail, sleet and snow.

·         Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are advised to be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.

·         If a journey cannot be avoided walk on a footpath, not in the street. If there are no footpaths walk on the right hand side of the road (towards oncoming traffic). Be extremely careful as frost, ice and snow will make walking on footpaths very dangerous.

·         Remember that footpaths may not be treated so walk with extreme care, make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear and in extreme conditions consider an appropriate walking stick or walking pole. While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your vehicle, DO NOT underestimate the danger of ice.

·         Avoid walking in the streets at all costs if possible. Remember, cars and trucks slip and slide, too!  If it’s an emergency, and you can’t avoid the street, wear bright or reflective clothing.

·         Visibility is reduced in snowy condition so wear high visibility clothing or carry a torch

·         Wear clothing that does not restrict your vision. Stay warm, but DO NOT impair your vision with hoodies, ski masks, scarves, hats, etc. This type of clothing could prevent you from spotting icy conditions that may lead to a fall or not enable you to see a car that is spinning out of control.

·         Snow and ice cause havoc quickly, so use extra caution when crossing roadways, and always cross at pedestrian crossings.

·         Ice can easily hide under a light dusting of snow. Just because you don’t see the ice doesn’t mean it’s not there waiting for your unsuspecting footfalls.

·         If you can’t avoid the ice and snow, bend your knees slightly and take slower, shorter steps to help reduce the chance of a slip and fall and an injury.

·         If forced to use the steps at someone’s home, apartment, or other public building, walk slow and take shorter steps when descending. The same is true of driveways and other hilly terrain; these areas can be very dangerous when they become slippery with ice or snow. Steps especially can be hard to clear and build up ice easily.

·         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

For advice on severe weather driving tips please see severe weather advice<http://www.rsa.ie/RSA/Road-Safety/Campaigns/Current-road-safety-campaigns/Severe-Weather-Advice/> on the RSA website or check out the RSA Facebook and Twitter pages.

For more weather updates visit Met Eireann’s website www.met.ie<http://www.met.ie/>

For further information contact;
RSA Communications department 096-25008

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