Donegal County Council has asked the public to plan ahead for any journeys that they intend to take during this spell of wintry weather, in particular they asked people to please consider if their journey is absolutely necessary.
They added that if you must use the car, before you begin your journey to consider the following:
- Plan your journey around the roads that are gritted even if this means a longer journey given the risks on untreated surfaces.
- Put a hi-viz jacket, shovel, boots or wellingtons, extra clothing or a blanket and a flask in the boot of the car, in case you do get stuck or have to abandon the car.
- Check your tyres – pressure, tread depth (minimum 1.6 millimetres) and condition.
- Clear your windscreen and ensure all your windows are clean and free from snow and bring a scraper and de-icer with you. Snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen during braking, thereby causing sudden and severe restriction to your vision.
- Top up your windscreen wash with one that is resistant to low temperatures as spray from roads can obstruct your vision and if your windscreen wash freezes you won’t be able to keep your windscreen clear.
- Check your lights and indicators as falling snow reduces visibility. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged. If your car has rear wheel drive the addition of extra weight in the boot, such as a bag of sand or cement, will help your wheels to grip.
- It takes longer to stop a vehicle in snow or on icy roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking, acceleration or steering as these can induce a skid. Going uphill use the highest gear possible to reduce the engine revs as this will help avoid wheel spin. When travelling downhill, especially through a series of bends, select a low gear as early as possible and allow your speed to reduce using the brake pedal gently.
If planning an unavoidable journey on foot pedestrians should be extremely careful as snow and ice can make walking on roads or footpaths very dangerous.
The council advised pedestrians to wear sturdy footwear with good gripping soles as well as high visibility clothing as visibility is reduced in snowy conditions.
They added that pedestrians take an extra look before crossing the road, “do not attempt to cross the road if there are vehicles around as snow and ice increase the distance that they need to stop”.
Motorcyclists and cyclists should also consider their safety before using their motorcycles / bicycles in icy and snowy conditions. Controlling two wheeled vehicles in snowy or icy conditions is extremely difficult and there is an increased danger of a collision with a vehicle that is out of control.
DCC advised motorcyclists and cyclists to consider taking alternative transport or walking.