Graphic via National Hurricane Center
The Road Safety Authority is advising people to take extreme care on the roads tomorrow as Hurricane Ophelia makes landfall on the Atlantic seaboard.
A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Kildare, which means that mean wind speeds between 65 and 80 km/h with gusts between 110 and 130km/h are expected. The winds have potential to cause structural damage and disruption, with dangerous marine conditions due to high seas and potential flooding.
The warning comes into affect on Monday morning at 9am, and lasts until 3am on Tuesday.
A red wind warning is in place for Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford, and people are being warned not to make any non-essential journeys.
Drivers of high sided vehicles and motorcyclists should also be aware of the extreme danger posed by gale force winds.
The RSA has the following general advice for road users when travelling in strong winds:
· Beware of objects being blown out onto the road. Expect the unexpected. Watch out for falling/fallen debris, like trees and branches, on the road and vehicles veering across the road.
· Control of a vehicle may be affected by strong cross winds. High sided vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to strong winds
· Drivers should allow extra space allow between themselves and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists as they may be blown off course by strong winds.
· Use dipped headlights at all times to improve visibility
With added risks posed by wet or flooded roads the RSA has the following advice;
· It takes longer to stop a vehicle on wet roads so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front
· Take special care when driving behind goods vehicles as they generate a considerable amount of spray which reduces your visibility
· Be aware of the danger of aquaplaning especially on roads with speed limits of 100 km/h and 120 km/h
· If the road ahead is flooded choose another route, do not attempt to drive through it. Flooded roads that appear shallow could be deeper than you think
· After going through water, drive slowly with your foot on the brake pedal for a short distance - this helps to dry the brakes
· Road users should always follow recommended routes and obey signs closing roads to traffic
· Check tyres and consider replacing them if the thread depth is below 3mm.
General Advice to Pedestrians & Cyclists;
· Be seen. Wear bright clothing with reflective armbands or a reflective belt.
· Take extra care when crossing the road or cycling in extremely windy conditions as a sudden gust of wind could blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
WATCH BELOW: Teresa Mannion's advice on driving in strong winds