Kildare County Council has issued renewed warnings to motorists on the M9 motorway following a multiple vehicle collision during heavy hailstone showers last Friday evening.
Friday afternoon saw many persistent and heavy hailstone showers, which proved extremely hazardous for many motorists, in this case those travelling on the M9 Motorway between Junctions three and four Ballitore/Castledermot, KCC Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh explained. “Gardaí, fire and ambulances services from counties Kildare and Carlow dealt with collisions involving seven vehicles which stretched over a long area of the M9 southbound carriageway. The collisions occurred at around 4.30pm. Although the collisions and injuries were not too serious on this occasion, it could have been a lot worse,” he said.
Following these latest collisions, Kildare’s road safety officer is renewing calls for safer driving by motorists during such conditions and is warning of the risks involved.
“Some drivers don’t appear to change their driving behaviour to compensate for the change in road and weather conditions. Visibility on the roads was greatly reduced on Friday afternoon due to heavy and persistent hailstone showers and road surfaces went from dry to very wet and slippery in a very short time. Some drivers changed their driving behaviour to suit the conditions while others failed to.”
According to Mr Keogh, motorways are generally regarded as the safest road to travel on, and if a driver is involved in a crash on a motorway, because of the high speeds involved, collisions can be horrific and result in serious or fatal injuries.
However, Mr Keogh said this may not always be the case. “When driving in heavy rain or with reduced visibility, thankfully collisions don’t tend to be all that serious, as some drivers have, or should have, reduced speeds and extended distances between vehicles. What is likely to happen is vehicles may skid and sometimes spin out of control or off the road, as was the case on Friday. Either way, a collision of any kind on any road is frightening and can be very serious and drivers should be aware of all the risks associated with driving and the consequences of a collision, during and for a long time after,” he explained.
Gardai and fire crews used large flashing signs last Friday to warn on-coming motorists ahead of the collisions as traffic began to build up on the motorway. Gardaí managed to re-open the outside lane and emergency services were at the scene for almost three hours.