Drivers warned of black ice as mother killed in collision
Gardai last night appealed for motorists to take extra care after one woman died and dozens of other accidents were caused throughout the country by black ice.
Clodagh Shannon (41) died when her car collided with an oncoming vehicle on the R585 Coppeen/Crookstown Road in west Cork shortly after 9am yesterday.
Ms Shannon, a mother, was living in Cork city but was on her way to work in west Cork when the tragedy occurred.
Her car suffered the main impact from the collision on its left front side. The crash, just outside Coppeen village, involved a hatchback and an SUV.
Gardai said that stretches of the local roads were very treacherous due to black ice which had built up over the recent cold spell.
Gardai were at the scene within minutes and, with paramedics and other motorists, attempted to stabilise the injured woman's condition.
However, she was pronounced dead at the scene before she could be transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH). A section of the road was closed to allow Garda accident investigators to examine the scene.
Motorists were urged to avoid the area until the road re-opened in the late afternoon.
Black ice was noted on the road surface for over an hour after the accident.
The other motorist involved, a man in his 50s, escaped serious injury but was transferred to Bantry General Hospital (BGH) for precautionary assessment.
He was said to be deeply traumatised by the tragedy.
Both vehicles will be examined by garda experts but at this stage it is believed icy roads were a primary factor in the tragedy.
Gardai urged motorists to take extreme care when travelling during the current cold spell, particularly on secondary roads.
The incident was the most serious of dozens reported across the country.
Just hours later an elderly man was left fighting for his life in hospital after his car struck a tree in Cork city.
The man, who is in his 70s, suffered critical injuries when his car apparently went out of control and struck a large tree off the Rochestown Road on the city's southside shortly before 7pm.
In Donegal alone there were reports of 15 different incidents of cars forced off roads due to the ice.
Even main roads were affected, causing long tailbacks into Letterkenny where pedestrians took to walking along the edge of roads because of icy footpaths.
In Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone, a driver escaped serious injury when his lorry overturned.
A truck also left the road on the N17 near Knock airport in Co Mayo, while gardai attended crash scenes at Magheraboy Upper, Westmeath, and on the N11 in Wicklow near the Newcastle turn-off.
There were also a number of other crashes in Limerick, Cavan and Monaghan.
Temperatures last night plummeted again, with Met Eireann and gardaí warning of a new black ice threat - and freezing fog in Leinster - today.
Temperatures will rise this afternoon and tomorrow in wet and windy conditions before another cold start to Saturday. They will rise again later on Saturday and into Sunday.