The Road Safety Authority (RSA), is asking road users to exercise caution while using the roads as Met Éireann have issued Orange and Yellow weather warnings for strong winds and heavy rain.
An orange weather warning is in place for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork Kerry and Limerick from 6pm tomorrow (Thursday) until 3am Friday. South-westerly winds veering westerly will reach mean speeds of 65 to 80 km/h with gusts generally of 100 to 130 km/h, higher in coastal regions. Storm surges will produce coastal flooding and damage.
A Yellow weather warning is also in place for Ireland from 9am tomorrow (Thursday) until 6am Friday with south-easterly winds later veering south-westerly will reach mean speeds 50 to 65 km/h with gusts to 100km/h resulting in some disruptive impacts.
Additionally, there is a further Yellow weather warning for Ireland from 9am tomorrow (Thursday) until 9am Friday with spells of heavy rain (In excess of 50 mm in parts of the west and northwest) will result in some flooding.
The RSA is asking road users to check local weather and traffic conditions and be aware of the conditions before setting out on a trip.
The RSA has the following advice for motorists in windy conditions;
• Prepare for the winter by keeping your vehicle well maintained and your windscreen washers are adequately filled before you take to the road.
• Beware of objects blown out onto the road. Expect road conditions to change quickly in heavy rain and high winds including hidden potholes etc so reduce your speed.
• 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.
• Drivers should allow extra space allow between themselves and vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.
• Motorists should also be aware that cyclists may need more road space than normal due to flooding, fallen debris and wind gusts, give them plenty of space to navigate any obstacles that may be in front of them
• Drive with dipped headlights at all times.
It’s important that all road users are mindful of the effects that poor weather can have on their ability to navigate the road safely.
Advice to Pedestrians, Cyclists and motorcyclists;
• Keep safe by making sure you can be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
• 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, where possible and not in the street. If there is a footpath and it is safe to use, look out for falling debris from above, especially in urban areas.
• Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.
• Poor road conditions can affect cyclists as well as drivers.
• Cyclist should ensure that they and their bike are visible to other road users by investing in a good set of front and rear lights (white at the front, red at the back) and by wearing clothes that help you be seen on your bike such as bright and light reflective items.
• Cyclists may wish to invest in a good set of mud guards and consider heavy duty tyres with a deeper tread to cope with slippery surfaces as it can take longer to stop in poor weather. Make sure that your helmet is correctly fitted and consider installing an additional light on your helmet.
• Obey road signs and markings, particularly red lights. It is also important to routinely check and maintain your bike, especially the brakes.
When driving in wet conditions and flooded roads, drivers are reminded 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.
• Take special care when driving behind goods vehicles as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility.
• Allow extra space between you and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may have to come off the footpath or out of the cycle lane to avoid flooding
• Be aware of the danger of aquaplaning especially on roads with speed limits of 100 km/h and 120 km/h.
• Check tyres and consider replacing them if the thread depth is below 3 mm.
• Use dipped headlights at all times to ensure you are seen by other motorists.
• 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. They may also have trees or braches that have fallen that may not be visible.
• After going through water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal for a short distance – this helps to dry the brakes.
• 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.
Advice to Pedestrians, Cyclists and motorcyclists
• Keep safe by making sure you can be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt and if you have to alert your course, where possible signal to oncoming traffic.
For more weather updates, visit Met Eireann’s website: www.met.ie