Bank Holiday weekend warning to drivers - take care and slow down

In a statement issued tonight by the Garda Press Office, some very wise and sensible advice and observations are made. We at the Democrat think they are worth five minutes of your time to have a read and we appeal to all motorists and road users this weekend to ‘take it handy - you will get there’.

In a statement issued tonight by the Garda Press Office, some very wise and sensible advice and observations are made. We at the Democrat think they are worth five minutes of your time to have a read and we appeal to all motorists and road users this weekend to ‘take it handy - you will get there’.

The press office statement offers the following advice and observations:

“As we head into the October bank holiday weekend, we must remind ourselves that tragically 141 people have already lost their lives on Irish Roads.

Although this represents 5 fewer deaths than this period last year, the stark fact is that between now and the end of the year there will be more collisions involving more loss of life. Over the past few days in particular we have seen tragic examples of what can happen on our roads. In saying that, it is possible to take simple steps to make it safer for all road users.

It is obvious to all that we have moved into the colder, wetter and darker weather so we must remind all road users to take extra care whilst driving, cycling, riding and walking on our roads. Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists must make themselves as visible as possible when on unlit or poorly lit roads. The wearing of high visibility clothing etc increases the chances of being seen by up to 325%. This could be vital for your safety, in poor visibility. The months of October, November and December are particularly high risk with 15, 18 and 18 deaths respectively in 2011.

All motorists should now be thinking “winter ready” and making preparations to make their vehicle safe for the colder weather ahead. Tyres, servicing, lights, wipers, washer fluid etc should all be checked. Most importantly, if a windscreen is iced over every driver must wait until it has cleared completely not only on the outside, but also clear from condensation on the inside before setting out on their journey.

We also ask that every vehicle user take conditions into account when gauging their speed, and drive at the appropriate safe speed for every journey.

A particular focus this weekend and going forward is the learner permit holder. Four operations have now been held this year targeting learner permit holders and their legal obligations to have a fully qualified driver with them at all times, plus the display of L plates. Although the compliance rate has increased since the first operation in March, it remains at an unacceptably high level, and this will continue to be addressed in future operations.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar TD said: ‘This weekend, as with every bank holiday, there is a greater risk of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. With the clocks going back this weekend, there will also be fewer hours of daylight. This makes it even more important to be visible on the roads. If we could all learn one thing from the tragedy of road collisions, it would be how quickly and easily lives can be shattered. So I am asking everyone: young, old, cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers, to be extra careful on the roads this weekend’.”

So, please, take heed of this sound advice and make it your business to make sure you are not another statistic by next Tuesday monring.

Michael Daly, Donegal Democrat, Editor in chief.