The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has urged all road users to prepare for hazardous conditions on roads and footpaths as Met Éireann has issued a warning for low temperatures and ice.
The weather body has warned of hazardous conditions, as a band of wintry precipitation will sink southwards with the potential for black ice/freezing rain on surfaces.
This will include low single figures by day and sharp or severe frosts and icy patches at night from Wednesday and into the weekend for all of Ireland.
There is also a risk of hailstones and snow in some parts of the country.
The RSA has told road users to expect icy roads and be extra cautious on untreated road surfaces.
Road users should also watch out for black ice, which the body outlined is one of winter’s worst hazards:
The sheltered/shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls, are prone to black ice, which is difficult to see.
Icy road conditions
The RSA’s 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. Manoeuvre gently, slow down and increase your braking distance or ‘safe space’ by leaving an extra distance between you and the vehicle in front;
- Avoid too much steering, harsh braking, and acceleration;
- Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill, especially if through bends;
- Check tyres and replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm. Check they are inflated to the correct tyre pressure;
- Familiarise yourself with any safety assist technology like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) in your vehicle;
- Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space when overtaking them.
Sleet and snow
There is also a risk of sleet and snow in parts of the north and west of the country. 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 restrictions 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;
- In snow or sleet conditions, visibility will be reduced. Do not drive on the taillights of the vehicle in front. In heavy snow, use your fog lights, turn off your radio and open your window, so you can hear other traffic, especially at junctions.
Met Eireann is also warning of a risk of hailstone showers, especially in the west and northern parts of the country.
The difficulty with hail showers is their unpredictability and localised nature.
As a hail shower tracks across the country, it deposits a narrow band of ball-bearing-sized hailstones on the ground.
The RSA has the following advice for drivers who encounter hailstones:
- If you encounter hailstones, reduce your speed without braking if possible. Warn other drivers by using your hazard warning lights;
- Driving slowly in a high gear will help your tyres maintain grip even as your tyres move over the compacted pellets of ice;
- Accelerate and brake very gently and drive slowly on bends where a loss of control is more likely. Avoid sudden steering movements or hard braking;
- Keep an eye out for road markings that may become obscured and leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front.