Wednesday 18 October 2017

Flash floods and road safety calls mark return of rain

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

AS THE heavens finally opened in parts of Ireland, there were even reports of flash flooding in the North West.

Roads were flooded in the village of Strandhill Co Sligo which is popular with surfers.

Met Eireann last night said that heavy, thundery showers in Donegal Bay could have been the cause of the influx of water along the seafront which occurred at about 8pm.

Meanwhile, road safety bosses have warned motorists to take extra care on the roads as the weather breaks and rain returns.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said drivers could expect greasy and slippery surfaces following a break in the dry weather, and that rainfall on dry roads presented "added dangers" to all road users.

Met Eireann forecasts scattered rain showers becoming widespread as the week progresses, turning heavy and possibly thundery at times.

The sudden change in the weather could catch motorists "off guard", RSA chief executive Noel Brett said.

SLIPPERY

"Roads are at their most slippery when the weather breaks after a long dry spell," he said.

"This is because the fine grit on roads tends to polish the road surface and roads also see the build-up of a film of tar, rubber and oil deposit. The sudden change in conditions can also catch drivers off guard.

"The expected rainfall and the condition of roads will make driving particularly hazardous as road surfaces become slippery, reducing skid resistance."

More than one in five road deaths occurs during wet weather. The most recent figures, from 2011, show 172 people lost their lives that year – 35 when conditions were classed as wet. Another 67 suffered serious injuries.

However, when the road condition is taken into account the number of deaths is far higher.

The Road Collision Factbook, published by the RSA, says that of the 172 fatalities in 2011, 67 occurred on wet roads. Another 115 people suffered serious injury, and 1,563 minor injuries.

Motorists should adjust their driving behaviours to take account of the changing conditions, Mr Brett said.

Some 102 people have died on Irish roads so far this year.

Irish Independent

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