The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to take extra care when using the roads as Met Éireann warn of an Atlantic storm depression that will track to the northwest of the country later Friday night and Saturday leading to strong winds, heavy showers and risk of flooding.
Met Éireann has issued a level orange alert this morning warning of strong southwest winds gusting 100 to 130 km/h, strongest across the Atlantic counties. Frequent heavy showers are promised, some thundery with sleet and snow for a time mainly on higher ground.
High coastal flood risk too due to the combination of very high spring tides, extremely high waves (greater than 10 m), low pressure and onshore winds – southwest, west and northwest margins most at threat.
The poor weather will create potentially hazardous conditions for road users. As such the RSA is advising drivers that;
· It takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front, 4 seconds at a minimum (use the 2 second rule and repeat it twice).
· Take special care when driving behind trucks or buses as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility,
· Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
· Use dipped headlights at all times of poor visibility not parking/side lights and fog lights.
· Be mindful of Aquaplaning on roads where 100/120kmh speeds apply. Aquaplaning occurs where the tyre thread fill with water and the driver is at risk of losing control of the vehicle.
· Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are advised to be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
· Pedestrians should walk on a footpath, not in the street. Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.
· Beware of objects being blown out onto the road. Expect the unexpected.
· 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
· Allow extra space between you and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists
· Drive with dipped headlights at all times
· Monitor radio weather broadcasts while travelling
The RSA also has the following advice for driving in flooded conditions;
· 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.
· Sometimes roads can be closed due to their fragile state after wet weather or because they are blocked by flooding.
· Road users should always follow recommended routes and obey signs closing roads to traffic.
· Watch out for washed out roads, earth slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electrical wires, and fallen or falling objects
· 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
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