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Monday 19 February 2018

Road pile-ups spark call for 'nutter' drivers to slow down

A van on its side after crashing on the M7 near Birdhill, Co Tipperary
A van on its side after crashing on the M7 near Birdhill, Co Tipperary
A council worker grits the streets following snowfall in Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Treacy Hogan and Paul Melia

SPEEDING drivers have been branded "nutters" as some of them continue to ignore appeals to slow down on treacherous roads.

As ice maintained its grip, there were several crashes on motorways and main roads.

Pile-ups occurred on motorways in Cork and Limerick yesterday, but fortunately no one was injured in any of them.

The Automobile Association (AA ) said that while most drivers were acting responsibly, many were still going too fast, tailgating the vehicle in front and overtaking recklessly.

"There is no shortage of nutters out there. I was on the receiving end of a crazy double overtaking manoevure," spokesman Conor Faughnan said. "We have had many reports of crashes on black ice."

The road collisions occurred as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) warned of a high risk of "multiple vehicle pile-ups" if drivers continued to ignore warnings to slow down.

A temporary thaw on Sunday quickly petered out and was replaced by freezing fog and black ice, making driving dangerous, even on main roads.

There was widespread reports of some motorists tailgating and overtaking on icy roads, while delivery trucks were accused of putting pressure on vehicles in front of them that were keeping their speeds low.

The gritting has frozen over on most of the primary roads, including the motorways and dual-carriageways, despite a week of extensive spreading.

Motorists were again warned to slow down and stay back from the vehicle in front as the icy conditions will continue until at least Thursday.


Temperatures could fall as low as -9C in some places, and a general thaw is not forecast until later in the week.

A collision involving one vehicle can quickly involve many others, especially if they are driving too fast and too close to one another, the RSA warned.

"Dense fog reduces visibility greatly and makes driving very dangerous," chief executive Noel Brett said.

"However, freezing fog -- when liquid fog droplets freeze to surfaces -- can make it difficult to keep the windscreen surface clear. Combined with icy road surfaces, it's a driver's worst nightmare."

He said road users should follow weather forecasts and general advice about driving conditions, and should avoid driving, cycling or walking in fog unless absolutely necessary.

"If you must drive, allow plenty of extra time for your journey. Check your car is in good working order, particularly that all the lights work properly, reduce your speed and keep your distance from the vehicle in front. You should always be able to stop in the distance you can see in front of you. If the fog closes in, reduce your speed."

No lives have been lost in crashes in the past 10 days, indicating that most drivers had heeded the call to slow down or stay off the road if possible, gardai said.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey added that drivers needed to leave more time for their journeys.

AA patrols attended almost 4,000 breakdowns last week .

Black ice has been deceiving a lot of motorists driving in rain over the last few days.

Cold road surfaces are causing rainfall to freeze as it hits the ground, the AA warned.

Irish Independent

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