MOTORISTS have been warned to take extra care this weekend as heavy rain and storm-force winds are forecast for much of the country.
Met Eireann said while Ireland would escape the worst of a storm forecast to hit the UK on Monday, the weekend's weather would be miserable and there could be some disruption to ferry crossings and flights for a period on bank holiday Monday.
"It's not going to be a great weekend," forecaster John Eagleton said.
"It will start off dry on Saturday but cloud over with heavy rain spreading from the west, and it will be wet everywhere by about midday or early afternoon.
"It will rain for several hours in the afternoon and it's going to be very windy and blustery on Sunday. It will be very showery in the west, but not as showery in the east. It will also feel cool, although temperatures won't be very low – about 14C on Saturday, dropping to 11C or 12C on Sunday, and down another degree to 9C or 10C on Monday.
"On Monday, we'll have that storm. It will come in north of the Bristol channel and over the Welsh mountains, and Monday will have the strongest winds from the north-east. While the heaviest of the rain should be gone by Monday afternoon, there will be cold, blustery winds.
"You might have some flights delayed for an hour or two, but it will move away very quickly. Any disruption will be short-lived.
"There will be rough seas on Monday as well."
Motorists should take extra care and exercise caution, and reduce their speed.
"It takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front," a spokesman said. "Take special care when driving behind trucks or buses as they generate a considerable amount of spray, which reduces your visibility.
"Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong crosswinds. High-sided vehicles and motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable. Watch out for fallen debris on the road and vehicles veering across the road, and the reaction of other road users."
Drivers should use dipped headlights during periods of poor visibility, and be mindful of aquaplaning where the tyre thread fills with water, resulting in a loss of control. This occurs when vehicles are driven at high speeds on motorways and dual carriageways.
The RSA also reminded drivers that, with clocks going back this weekend, motorists should ensure their children wear high-visibility vests as darkness falls earlier in the evening.
"With evenings getting darker much earlier, and fewer hours of daylight during the day, it's even more important for vulnerable road-users, such as walkers, joggers and cyclists to ensure they can be seen by other road-users when out on the roads," director of road safety research and driver education, Michael Rowland, said.
"Wear high-visibility clothing such as high-viz vest or a Sam Browne belt, carry a torch when out on the roads and ensure you have working lights on your bicycle."