AA Ireland is advising motorists to prepare for hazardous driving conditions in the coming days, after Met Éireann issued a Status Yellow Weather Warning for parts of the country advising that winds of up to 80km/h are expected between Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 January.
While conditions are expected to stay largely dry across most of the country, a Status Yellow Weather warning has also been issued for Cork and Kerry, with significant rainfall expected later this week. With conditions expected to take a turn for the worst, the AA is reminding motorists to drive at speeds suitable to the conditions, allow additional distance between themselves and other vehicles and to be aware of vulnerable road-users.
“Stormy conditions are a real danger for motorists as not only do gale force winds make maintaining control of the vehicle more difficult, but heavy rainfall can also greatly increase your stopping distance,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs warned. “When driving in stormy conditions it can take you more than 170 metres to bring a car to a complete stop if you’re driving at 120kph, the current speed limit on Irish motorways.”
In particular, the AA is warning drivers to exercise caution when driving on motorways as sudden gusts of wind can make what are normally Ireland’s safest roads very hazardous. Strong gusts of wind combined with heavy rain and road spray from other vehicles severely reduces driver visibility and also impacts on the driver’s ability to maintain control of the car.
With visibility likely to be poor, motorists need to slow down and drive at a suitable speed for the conditions as doing so not only gives you more time to react but also reduces your risk of being blown off-course by wind,” Faughnan added. “It’s equally important for motorists to be on the look-out for vulnerable road-users, such as cyclists and pedestrians, as heavy rain and darker, stormy conditions puts these road-users at greater risk of being involved in some kind of incident.
Meanwhile, the AA is also advising home-owners in areas likely to experience stormy weather to prepare themselves and their homes accordingly. Among the most important steps for home-owners to take if a storm is forecast in their area is to check their roof for loose tiles and prepare their property accordingly.
“Given the mild weather we had been experiencing so far this winter, many of the steps home-owners would normally take to prepare for heavy rain and high winds may have been ignored. Clearing out your gutters and trimming any small trees or bushes near your home will help prevent your property being damaged by rainfall or debris.”
Similar to preparing an emergency kit to have in your car, home-owners are advised to put together a home storm kit containing necessary medication, emergency telephone numbers, a first-aid kit, a torch, and a camera to photograph any damage to ensure they are prepared for the worst.