Strong gusts of 140kmph, storm force winds of between 100-120kmph and very wet roads are making driving conditions dangerous for motorists this evening particularly in Ulster, Connacht and North Leinster, according to AA Roadwatch.
Gardai in the North and West of the country are advising motorists to avoid any unnecessary journeys especially along costal routes. The AA is also advising extreme care due to debris and fallen tree’s on some local and national routes in Counties Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Westmeath, Louth and Dublin. The public has also been strongly advised not to go out on exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or any other coastal areas.
“The North and West of the country got the worst of it earlier this afternoon and the East Coast is feeling the brunt of the storm now, although it is blustery and hazardous across the whole island.” Says Nicola Hudson of AA Roadwatch. “The AA and the Garda are advising drivers to be very careful on the roads. The high winds mean that you could meet an obstacle – like a fallen branch, a road sign, a wheelie-bin – just about anywhere. The next bend in the road could be lethal.”
The AA is warning drivers to be especially careful on the Motorways as these driving conditions make those normally safe roads very hazardous. Strong gusts of wind can impede on the control you have of your vehicle, road spray thrown up from the wheels reduces visibility. It can take you more than 170 metres to bring a car to a complete stop when you are travelling at 120kph, as we do on Motorways.
“The most important message is for drivers to slow down.” Says Hudson. “Braking distances increase dramatically in wet conditions. It is especially important for drivers not to tailgate. Leave a long distance between yourself and the vehicle in front. Take particular care to look out for cyclists and motorcyclists. Not only are conditions more difficult for these vulnerable road users, water beading on the glass of a car makes it more difficult for the driver to see out.”
Met Éireann expect Gale force winds to moderate later tonight but it will stay very blustery throughout the night. The showers will continue in the North and West but it will become mainly dry elsewhere.
For up to the minute bulletins on road conditions, see www.aaroadwatch.ie