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Adverse Weather Conditions

Through a dedicated website www.winterready.ie, advice is being made available from a number of sources including Government Departments and Agencies, An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive, the Office of Public Works, Local Authorities and the transport providers. The advice has been categorised under various headings including: the Home, Road Safety, Schools, the Farming Community and the Business Sector. A synopsis of the information available has been compiled into a “Be Winter Ready” booklet, which can be downloaded from the website.

The main objectives of the ‘Be Winter-Ready’ information campaign are:

• To provide practical advice on how best to prepare for the coming winter.
• To ensure the public are aware of where advice and help can be found, if needed, and
• To reassure the public that preparations are being made and arrangements have been put in place to ensure a coordinated response to severe weather events.

All Government Departments and Agencies have also been requested to promote the “Be Winter Ready” information campaign through their own websites and over social media and to regularly update their own preparations and information campaigns as a “Whole of Government” approach to winter preparations.

In addition, the Office of Emergency Planning will be regularly tweeting during the winter period to augment the ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign. The twitter account can be followed on @emergencyIE and the public are being encouraged to join in the conversation at #bewinterready.

The main message that they wish to convey today is –

to be prepared, stay safe and know where to find help if you need it.”


Here are the links to some useful websites:

 Advice in case of flooding

•Further information on road safety - www.rsa.ie 

•Be Winter Ready - www.winterready.ie

•For updates from public transport providers - www.transport.ie

•To check the weather forecast - www.met.ie 

•For latest traffic news -  www.aaroadwatch.ie @aaroadwatch @gardatraffic

•To find your local radio station - www.rsa.ie

Is Your Journey Absolutely Necessary?

In extreme weather conditions you should ask yourself if making a journey by road is absolutely necessary. You might consider delaying your trip until the weather and road conditions improve or use public transport where available. If your journey is unavoidable you should be prepared. Ensure your vehicle has a more than adequate supply of fuel for the journey. Allow extra time and drive with caution. Let someone know your route and when you expect to arrive. Check to see if there are any problems on your intended route before setting out on a journey. Listen to TV or radio bulletins and check the weather forecast. Remember that the best road conditions are likely to occur between 10am and 4pm. Here are the links to some useful websites:

Is Your Vehicle Winter-Ready?

• Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual and find out if it has any safety assist technology e.g. ABS
• Check the owners manual for instructions in the event you have to be towed, ( location of towing eye etc), this is especially important for trucks and buses
• Get your vehicle serviced to ensure it is fit and safe
• Carry out regular checks on the vehicle
• Check for wear and tear on wiper blades and replace them as soon as they start to smear rather than clean windows
• Keep tyre pressure at the manufacturer's recommended level
• Replace tyres if necessary - check your tyre tread depth - the minimum legal limit is 1.6mm, however, for winter driving 3mm is advised
• Make sure all vehicle lights are working and clean
• Ensure the vehicle has adequate levels of anti-freeze coolant and screen wash
• Check your vehicle battery
Be Prepared In prolonged icy or snowy driving conditions it is advisable to carry a fully charged mobile phone and have the following in the boot of the car

• High Visibility Vest
• Tow rope
• A shovel
• Appropriate footwear in case you have to leave your vehicle
• A hazard warning triangle
• De-icing equipment (Both for glass and door locks)
• First aid kit
• A fire extinguisher
• A torch
• A car blanket, additional clothing & some food and water (for long journeys)
• Consider carrying some salt or sand

Motoring Tips in Snow and Ice

• Clear your windows, mirrors and lights before you set out – do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass
• Ensure your vehicle is clear of snow including the roof
• Have sunglasses in the car
• Visibility may be reduced. However, do not hang on to the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you
• Use your dipped headlights and fog lights
• Manoeuvre gently, too much steering is bad
• Slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front
• When you slow down, use your brakes gently so that the brake lights warn drivers behind you
• Avoid harsh braking and acceleration
• Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially if through bends
• If your car has rear wheel drive the addition of extra weight in the boot will help your wheels to grip
• Be careful on compacted snow – it may have turned to ice
• Watch out for black ice especially in sheltered / shaded areas on roads, under trees, under or on bridges and adjacent to high walls
If your vehicle begins to skid you should:

• Identify the cause – it is either; too much braking, too much steering, too much acceleration or a combination of these.
• Remove the cause – gently and smoothly
• Avoid over-correction with too much steering, be ready for a secondary skid in the opposite direction
• Cars have different braking systems. For full detailed information on breaking check the Garda and RSA websites

Motoring Tips in Strong Wind

• Slow down and increase the distance from the vehicle in front
• If driving a high-sided vehicle be prepared, when approaching exposed sections of roadway, for the impact of the wind on the steering dynamics of the vehicle
• Avoid overtaking manoeuvres on such exposed sections
• When passing motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians be prepared in case the wind blows them into your path
• Be alert to the possibility of flying debris and fallen trees
• If you have to stop for any reason use your hazard warning lights to warn other drivers

Motoring Tips in Severe Flooding

• Slow down - do not drive at speed into floodwater – there may be a pothole or debris concealed in the water or your vehicle may aquaplane leading to loss of control
• Before you drive through floodwater ascertain how deep the water is to ensure your vehicle can get through safely
• In rain and when visibility is poor drivers should use dipped headlights
• Keep a sharp lookout for pedestrians, cyclists etc and avoid spraying or swamping them
• If you have to stop, activate your hazard warning lights

Motoring Tips in Fog

• Slow down and increase the distance from the vehicle in front
• Use dipped headlights and front and rear fog lights, if fitted
• Remember to switch off fog lights when visibility improves
• Keep a sharp lookout for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists
• Do not blindly follow the vehicle in front – it may leave the road for whatever reason
• If you have to stop, activate your hazard warning lights

Advice to Pedestrians

• If a journey cannot be avoided, be extremely careful as snow and ice can make walking on footpaths very dangerous
• Wear sturdy footwear - insulated and waterproof with good gripping soles
• Be careful when walking on compacted snow – it may have turned to ice
• Take an extra look before you cross the road and do not attempt to cross if there are vehicles approaching – remember snow and ice increases the distance that vehicles need to stop
• Be Seen to Be Safe! Visibility is reduced in poor weather conditions so wear high visibility clothing or carry a torch. As children often journey to school in the dark, make sure your child can be seen
• Be extremely careful in the vicinity of open water, canals, lakes, ponds or coastal piers etc
• Never walk on frozen waterways
• In order to protect yourself if you fall, avoid walking with your hands in your pockets

Advice to Motorcyclists / Cyclists

• Consider your safety first - controlling two-wheeled vehicles in snow or icy conditions is extremely difficult and there is an increased danger of a collision with a vehicle that is out of control
• Consider taking alternative transport or walking