The Road Safety Authority (RSA), is asking road users to be extremely careful while using the roads tonight, as Met Éireann has issued a preliminary warning that a vigorous Atlantic storm depression is forecast to pass just to the northwest of Ireland overnight.
Met Éireann has issued a level orange alert to begin from midnight, Monday, until 4pm tomorrow, Christmas Eve. According to Met Éireann, the exact track is still not certain, but it is likely to bring some severe winds in over the country for late Monday night and for a time on Tuesday. Blustery southwest winds are expected to gust to between 100 km/h and 130 km/h. The highest gusts, at this stage, are expected in western and northern coastal counties. High Seas are expected also.
The outlook remains changeable over the next several days with further wintry showers, sharp frost and icy patches forecast early in the week. Present indications show that severe and possibly damaging winds are forecast later in the week with a risk of spot flooding in parts of the country.
The RSA has issued the following advice:
- Watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road and the reaction of other road users.
- Notify the Gardaí about fallen debris on the roadway. NEVER stop on a motorway to remove debris.
- Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds.
- High sided vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds.
- 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 "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. Watch out for black ice, especially in sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.
- 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.
- Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.
Pedestrians and cyclists are advised to;
- Be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
- Take extra care when near traffic or crossing the road in extremely windy conditions as sudden gusts can blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
- While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your car or truck, 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 advice on severe weather driving tips please see 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