Road safety warning as Met Eireann predicts weekend frost

The Road Safety Authority has issued an alert to drivers this weekend, following a weather forecast from Met Eireann indicating that Saturday and Sunday night will be very cold with temperatures falling to as low as -3 degrees.

Met Eireann is predicting that tonight will see further rain but clearer weather, with scattered showers, in western coastal areas early tonight, will extend across the country later.

Saturday will be a fresh, bright day, with sunny spells developing quite widely, Met Eireann predicts. Most places dry, but scattered showers will affect some Atlantic coastal areas, according to Met Eireann. Saturday night will be dry and very cold as temperatures fall to between +2 and -2 degrees. Winds will be light and mist and fog patches will develop as well as frost.

A cold, frosty start to Sunday but as high pressure builds over the country, it will mean dry weather with sunny spells, according to Met Eireann. A cool day with temperatures struggling and only ranging from 6 to 9 degrees in light winds. It will be another very cold night with temperatures once again falling below freezing in many places. There will be a widespread ground frost as temperatures dip to between +1 and -3 degrees, with fog patches returning, Met Eireann says.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has the following advice for road users in ice and fog conditions:

Get a grip. Remember your only contact with the road surface is your tyres so it’s vital that they are up to the task in icy and snowy conditions. Check tyres, including spare wheel, and replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm. Check that tyres are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Lack of grip can occur even on treated roads so drive slowly in the highest gear possible, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking. Replace tyres if necessary.

Make sure you can see. 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. Replace windshield wiper blades if necessary. De-mist the inside of your windows thoroughly. Make sure your windshield washer system works and is full of an anti-icing fluid. Watch out for grit/salt spreaders.

Check & use your lights. Use your dipped headlights so that others will see you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are all in working order, replace broken bulbs.

Gently does it. Manoeuvre gently, slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Fog, rain, or hail will reduces visibility. Do not hang on to the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you as it can give a false sense of security. When you slow down, use your brakes so that the brake lights warn drivers behind you. Don’t forget to turn off your fog lights when the fog has cleared.

Watch out for ‘black ice’. If the road looks polished or glossy it could be, ‘black ice’ one of winter’s worst hazards.

Give yourself a brake. If you get into a skid, you need to know if your vehicle has ABS (Anti- Lock Braking Systems). After you “Step” on the brake the ABS begins cycling — you will feel pulses in the pedal or hear the system working. It’s easy to properly use antilock brakes: Remember – Step, Stay and Steer. Step on the pedal. Stay on the pedal. Steer around the obstacle.

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