Council issues winter road safety advice

Donegal County Council is advising all road users to prepare for hazardous conditions on roads and footpaths as Met Eireann has issued a warning for low temperatures and ice.

This will include low temperatures by day and sharp or severe frosts and icy patches at night from Thursday and into the weekend for all of Ireland. There is also a risk of hailstones and snow in some parts of the country. After the recent prolonged spell of mild weather road users are being advised not to get caught out by a drop in temperatures. They should expect icy roads and be extra cautious on untreated road surfaces.

Road users should also 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. The sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls are prone to black ice.

The advice for drivers to deal with icy road conditions is.

  • Clear your windows and mirrors of any ice, carry a screen scraper and de-icer.
  • Remember it takes longer to stop in icy conditions. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
  • Check tyres and replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm. Check they’re inflated to the correct tyre pressure.

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

Met Eireann is also warning of a risk of hailstone showers, especially in the west and in Donegal. The difficulty with hail showers is their unpredictability and localised nature.

There is also a risk of sleet and snow in Donegal. Drivers in these conditions are advised to:

  • 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 and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front.
  • In snow or sleet conditions, visibility will be reduced. Do not drive on the taillights of the vehicle in front.

The changing weather conditions will also pose challenges for pedestrians and cyclists. The advice for these road users in icy conditions is as follows.

  • While walking on footpaths and in public places, or entering and exiting your car or truck, DO NOT underestimate the dangers of frost and ice.
  • If you are out walking in icy conditions wear appropriate footwear.
  • Visibility is reduced in hail, sleet, or snow so at night wear high visibility clothing or carry a torch and if you cycle make sure your bike is fitted with lights front and rear.

Please stay safe and look out for all road users.

For more weather updates visit Met Eireann’s website here


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