News Winter Storms

Sunday 15 December 2019

'Computer nerds' are over-reliant on satnav, warn gardaí

Sounding a warning: Gda Supt John Ferris. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Sounding a warning: Gda Supt John Ferris. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Niall O'Connor

Gardaí have warned that "computer nerds" are creating safety issues on the country's roads by relying too heavily on satnavs.

Superintendent John Ferris said motorists are putting the safety of others at risk by failing to show "common sense" during the floods.

"We have computer nerds and people who won't use common sense and they are following the satellite navigation system - and it tells them to turn this way and that way, and they are ignoring the road signs that An Garda Síochána and the local authorities have agreed," Gda Supt Ferris said.

"There are potholes, there is road damage there and people are driving way too fast, then they damage their car, they block what is already a small road and that causes difficulty for everybody.

"So, we'd ask people to use common sense, recognise the condition of the road, recognise it might be a minor road you are on and basically reduce the speed and use common sense."

Read more: 'I haven't been able to go to work for a month'

The senior Garda officer made the remarks following a meeting of the National Co-­ordination Group.

Freezing weather conditions will create treacherous conditions on the roads, as flooding in most of the country finally shows signs of abating.

Frost, sleet and snow are forecast for several parts over the next 24 hours, Met Éireann has said.

And further heavy rain is due to hit parts of the south and west over the weekend - creating the prospect of further flooding in many counties.

But the colder weather will create hazardous road conditions for motorists.

Following 32 days of crisis meetings, the group said there is now a sense of optimism that the situation is improving.

"We can't say with absolute certainty that we have reached a peak across the Shannon, but there are some optimistic signs," said Brendan McGrath of the City and County Managers' Association.

Read more: 'I will chain myself to gate of the Dáil'

The Office of Public Works (OPW) said that all of the gauges along the Shannon catchment have fallen for the first time in several days. There has been a 1cm fall in river levels around Athlone - where the situation has been most severe.

Levels there still remain above the 2009 peak, according to the OPW's Jim Casey.

There have, however, been rises in the levels of the rivers Nore, Slaney, Boyne and Bandon.

It has emerged that a number of families in isolated areas in the midlands moved into emergency accommodation due to exhaustion.

However, the Defence Forces insisted that their personnel are available to man pumps if requested to do so by the local authority.

Despite the positive signs overall, several areas around the country are still in a severe flood situation. Very significant rainfall was recorded in Wicklow - causing nine houses to be flooded in the villages of Kilcoole and Newcastle. Personnel have been manning the pumps to avoid homes being flooded in Mornington, Co Meath.

Meanwhile, ESB Networks warned of the dangers of overhead power lines.

Read more: Shannon dredging will go ahead, insists Taoiseach

In parts of Galway, it has been reported that the clearance from power lines has been significantly reduced.

An aerial survey of the Shannon region in Offaly and Galway was carried out to assess the dangers.

A decision may be taken to ask some homeowners to evacuate if their safety is deemed to be at risk.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News