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safety advice during Hurricane Ophelia


This is one of the key safety messages issued by the Emergency Coordination Group, which should be taken on board by people on Monday.

People should not travel in Red level warning areas during the height of the storm unless absolutely necessary and take due care if travelling in all other areas. People should listen to local radio and national media broadcasts regarding the current weather situation.

With high seas predicted, the public are advised to stay away from coastal areas during this period.

Very strong winds are predicted making driving conditions hazardous, especially for the more vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, pedestrian’s, motorcyclist and high sided vehicles. Road users should pay particular attention to the risk posed by fallen trees and flying debris.

Given anticipated weather conditions, Monday should be  no bike day.

Power outages are likely to occur in certain parts of the country, with contingency planning activated by the ESB.

The ESB is advising the public to stay away from fallen cables that may have broken due to the high winds. ESB Emergency Services can be contacted at 1850 372 999.

People are asked to check in on isolated and vulnerable neighbours today in advance of the oncoming severe weather conditions and again after the worst of the event has passed.
All patio furniture, rubbish bins and any loose items from around buildings, which can be turned into missiles by the wind should be removed indoors to safety.

Clare County Council is urging land, home and business owners, particularly those in low-lying coastal areas, to take precautionary steps in light of the flood risk posed by a combination of storm force winds and a large sea swell.

Flooding advice is available on www.flooding.ie. Information included on the website includes advice on identifying flooding risks, protecting property against flooding, necessary steps to be taken if a property is flooded, and assessing and repairing property damaged by flooding.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), is asking road users to exercise caution while using the roads as the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland.

The RSA has advised road users to beware of objects being blown out onto the road and expect the unexpected.

Motorists should watch out for falling/fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road. Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong wind.

Drivers should allow extra space allow between themselves and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong wind.

Dipped headlights should be used at all times.

With added risks posed by wet or flooded roads, the RSA states it takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of your vehicle.

Special care is needed when driving behind goods vehicles as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility

Motorists should be aware of the danger of aquaplaning especially on roads with speed limits of 100 km/h and 120 km/h.

If the road ahead is flooded choose another route, do not attempt to drive through it. Flooded roads that appear shallow could be deeper than you think.

After going through water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal for a short distance – this helps to dry the brakes.

Road users should always follow recommended routes and obey signs closing roads to traffic.

Check tyres and consider replacing them if the thread depth is below 3mm.

Pedestrians and cyclists should be seen by wearing bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.

Take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Walk on a footpath, not in the street. Walk on the right hand side of the road, facing traffic if there are no footpaths.

For advice on severe weather driving tips and severe weather advice log on the RSA website or check out the RSA Facebook and Twitter pages.

Dan Danaher

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