Dangerous drivers 'dicing with death' by ignoring risks
Road chief urges caution
Published 22/12/2010 | 05:00
MOTORISTS who feel they are getting "used to" the snow are dicing with death if they take unnecessary risks.
That was the grim warning last night from the head of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), who said lives could be lost if drivers abandoned caution.
RSA chief executive Noel Brett said: "The danger with this prolonged cold spell is that road users will start to get used to the conditions and begin taking unnecessary risks."
He urged drivers intending to travel home for Christmas to consider using public transport instead, to drive in daylight, to car pool and to take breaks on long journeys to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.
The RSA is encouraging road users to visit the 'Severe Weather Advice for Road Users' section of its website, www.rsa.ie.
Around Dublin the M50 was extremely congested and cars and trucks were having trouble negotiating the off-ramp at the Red Cow. Traffic was very slow from the Long Mile Road to Newlands Cross on the N7/Naas Road where conditions were icy. Snow and ice on the M7 from Portlaoise to Naas made driving difficult.
There are less than 30 tonnes of salt left in Kildare, which is virtually useless, according to Kildare's KFM radio station.
It takes 200 tonnes per night to treat Kildare's main roads and motorways.
Just 90 tonnes were due to arrive from a salt mine in Carrickfergus and it was hoped that Kildare would benefit from a shipment from Morocco that is due in to Dublin port today.
Kildare County Council said there was no guarantee Kildare would get an allocation of salt from that shipment.
Fuel rationing added to the woes of motorists in west Donegal, which has been shrouded in a blanket of snow since Friday.
Filling stations in Gweedore and Gortahork limited petrol and diesel to €20 per customer yesterday while they waited for the arrival of oil tankers into the remote Gaeltacht region. Fuel tankers were also unable to deliver home heating oil to houses that are off main roads.
The problem is being compounded by the closure of the Errigal road, the main route linking west Donegal with Letterkenny, because of hazardous driving conditions.
Replenishment of stocks allowed Mayo County Council to increase their allocation of salt for the treatment of snow- and ice-covered roads in the region.
But the new supply will only be available for use on national primary routes.
The towns of Ballina and Castlebar were amongst the areas worst affected with motorists experiencing difficulty especially in hilly areas.
There was heavy snow across the Ennistymon, Kilkee and Miltown areas of Clare yesterday as well as parts of west Limerick.
Snow ploughs were deployed to keep the roads clear in areas where three inches of snow was lodged. Up to a dozen school bus services across west and north Clare were cancelled.
A meeting of Limerick County Council heard that the local authority had only two days of rock salt left but more was expected to arrive in coming days.
The region was finally hit by heavy snowfalls, with Wexford being the worst affected.
Up to four inches of snow fell in a short space of time yesterday morning. Motorists endured long delays in Enniscorthy, Gorey and Wexford town. Many vehicles needed to be pushed out of the snow in Wexford town where conditions were described as "dangerous".
It was very icy in Longford Town, on the Longford to Ballymahon road and on the N63 Lanesborough to Roscommon. There was a crash on the N4 at the Rooskey roundabout on the Longford border, where black ice and fog caused major problems for drivers.
Motorists were advised to avoid Slane if possible because of fresh snow.
Snow and ice affected driving around Monasterboice, Dundalk and Drogheda.
The AA warned that it was icy on secondary routes in Drogheda, Carlingford and Cooley.