Storm Barra: motorists advised to take extreme caution

With Storm Barra thundering over the horizon, motorists planning to take to the roads in the midst of the foul weather have again been urged to take extreme caution.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 5:06 pm

Met Eireann has issued a red warning - indicating a threat to life - for counties Cork and Kerry, which are expected to bear the brunt of the storm when it makes landfall on Tuesday morning.

An orange warning is in place for western counties and a yellow rain warning is in place nationwide.

The Irish Coast Guard, Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána and local authorities have issued public safety advice: Stay away from all coastal areas for the duration of the Met Éireann warnings; be aware of the hazardous travelling conditions, and only necessary journeys should be undertaken. Motorists should slow down and be aware of the dangers of fallen trees and debris. High sided vehicles are particularly vulnerable during this time.

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Storm Arwen hit the north coast with fury recently, and galeforce winds splattered ̃sea foam' all over Portstewart. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia

As conditions will vary throughout the storm, people need to take account of the local conditions and advice from their local authority.

John Wilmot, CEO of car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco, said motorists should take extra care in the storm, which follows so close behind Storm Arwen.

He advised motorists: “It’s important to adjust your driving to suit more challenging road conditions and take your time when you’re out and about, even if you know the routes like the back of your hand.

“Be mindful that with winds gusting up to 70mph, there is likely to be loose debris on roads, such as fallen branches and even trees, particularly in more rural areas.

“Commuters will also be heading home in the dark after an exhausting day at work, when concentration levels can dip.

“In preparation for tomorrow, and as drivers face tougher road conditions generally over the coming months, it’s worth taking the time to give your car a thorough inspection, including checking the tyre pressure and tread depths.”

John Wilmot said motorists need to take extra care to stay safe tomorrow and during the winter months in general when road conditions are more treacherous.

* Check your car lights. Defective lights present a real hazard. Blown light bulbs can make it harder for other road users to work out how wide your car is. Make sure your headlights, indicators, brake lights and reverse lights are working.

* Be alert, and take your time. Take your time, even when driving familiar routes. Be more aware of pedestrians and other road users in the gloom. Give cyclists a wide berth, as fallen branches, wet leaves and other debris on the road increase the chances of wheels slipping.

* Check tyres and fluid levels. Check tyre pressure and make sure your tread depths are at least 3mm to be safe for winter conditions. Top up screenwash, antifreeze and oil levels if they’re low.

* A clear field of vision. Ensure your windscreen is clean, and demist before setting off by turning up the heating and opening a window. Consider anti-fog products, to prevent moisture clinging to the windscreen. Check your wiper blades don’t leave any smears.

* Night vision. Darker evenings enhance the glare of dazzling lights from oncoming traffic, and remember to dip your headlights when you meet other vehicles. It’s worth having your eyesight tested - which you should do regularly - as night driving puts extra strain on eyes.

* Emergency kit. Pack an emergency kit in the back of the car with essentials, such as an ice scraper, de-icer spray, torch, first-aid kit, warm blankets, jump leads, and even a small shovel.