Motorists urged to drive with EXTREME caution this morning


Motorists have been urged to drive with extreme caution as an orange weather warning was issued over potentially heavy overnight snowfalls in Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said there was the potential for falls of up to 8cm in these areas, particularly on higher ground.

Motorists were warned that, given the freezing conditions, there will also be a risk of black ice in many areas nationwide.

Gardaí said driving conditions in some areas may be quite hazardous.

A yellow weather warning is in place given likely snowfalls in Longford, Cavan, Monaghan, Galway and Roscommon where up to 4cm could be recorded by this evening.

The RSA and gardaí urged anyone undertaking journeys to take all necessary precautions - to slow down, allow extra travel time and increase the travelling distance between other vehicles.

The warnings came after rain showers at 5am yesterday froze on contact with road surfaces and caused misery for commuters, particularly in Cork where roads were treacherous.

Despite intensive gritting and salting operations by Cork City and County Councils, the early morning rainfall left some roads covered in black ice.

Gardaí recorded more than 20 traffic accidents between 7am and 10am in Cork as some roads were left virtually impassable.

No one was injured in two separate ice-related incidents involving school buses in Cork.

The first happened outside Minane Bridge shortly after 8am. Locals paid tribute to the skill of the driver who was travelling at very low speed given the conditions and was able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop.

The bus skidded on black ice and came to a rest side-on against a low bridge wall on the hard shoulder thanks to the driver's skilled reactions. There were no injuries involved.

All 20 schoolchildren were able to continue with their journey.

A second school bus skidded on black ice on the Carrig- twohill to Leamlara Road shortly after 9.15am. That bus, which was empty, skidded on ice and partially left the road. No one was injured. Gardaí described both incidents as minor.

The most serious accident happened just off the Lee Road in Cork city where a motorist lost control on black ice at 8am. The driver skidded across the road and the vehicle overturned. No serious injuries were involved.

However, the road was closed and diversions were in place near the Angler's Rest. Councils stressed that full road gritting and salting operations have been under way nationwide.

However, efforts are being hampered by the large volumes of water on roads following the torrential rainfall and floods over the past six weeks.

Gardaí warned that the potential for black ice was particularly high in areas which had been subjected to heavy flooding over recent weeks.

Significant quantities of water remain lodged along rural road verges.