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Mattie Mc Mahon of Galway County Council fills salt into their new hopper and spreader to be used on the local roads around Gort and the area. Photograph by John Kelly.

Hazardous driving conditions alert

AA Ireland is warning motorists to prepare for hazardous driving conditions in coming days, after Met Éireann advised that snow and icy conditions, as well as high winds, are expected across the country in the coming days.

Hail, sleet and snow are likely to affect the north of the country as early as today (Wednesday) before moving south throughout Thursday, which could result in dangerous driving conditions during the morning rush hour. AA Ireland is advising motorists to slow down and allow extra braking distance when driving.

“We haven’t had truly icy conditions yet this Winter but they may be on the way,” Conor Faughnan, AA director of consumer affairs warned. “Icy conditions and snow are a real danger for motorists. Even where roads are treated the grip of the tyres and the braking distance that you have to allow are very different. What may look like a perfectly safe surface may have ice lingering especially in shady spots, and you may not know it until you touch the brakes and your control is lost. Even a small skid can be terrifying.”

In particular, the AA is warning drivers to exercise caution when driving on older or untreated roads where possible if ice becomes an issue. While modern cars with anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are significantly less likely to skid in icy conditions, drivers of older vehicles are advised to avoid sudden braking and to use the highest gear possible while driving so as to reduce the risk of losing control.

Furthermore, the motoring organisation is warning motorists to be on the lookout for vulnerable road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists, should falling snow lead to a reduction in visibility.

“The golden rule is to slow down. Every danger is magnified by your car’s speed. On these dark winter mornings you have to expect the unexpected. We also have to look out for other road users. Cyclists are supposed to be properly lit and pedestrians need to be careful on winter roads, but as motorists the primary responsibility is with us,” Mr Faughnan said.

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