RSA advice for Offaly motorists as county braces for further cold weather
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is advising all road users to take extra care when using the roads as Met Éireann has issued a forecast for snow and ice in the coming days.
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 road users, when driving in icy and snowy conditions:
• 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.
• 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 dipped headlights at all times of poor visibility to ensure you are seen by other motorists
• Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.
• 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, use all controls delicately and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Too much steering is bad and avoid harsh braking and harsh acceleration. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends.
• 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. In heavy fog, turn off your radio and let down your driver’s window a fraction, so as you can hear other traffic.
The RSA has the following advice for road users when travelling in strong winds:
• 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, motorcyclists and cyclists 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.
• Use dipped headlights at all times
Pedestrians and cyclists are advised to:
• 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, not in the street. Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.
• 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 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.