AA Warns Motorists to Slow Down As Hurricane Ophelia Looms

AA Ireland is advising motorists to prepare for hazardous driving conditions in the coming days, after Met Éireann issued a Status Yellow Weather Warning as high winds and heavy rain are expected in the coming days as the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia pass close to Ireland on Monday.

The weather warning will remain in place from 06:00 on Monday, 16 October until 06:00 Tuesday, 17 October. With the worst of the conditions expected early next week, the AA is reminding motorists to drive at speeds suitable to the conditions, allow additional distance between themselves and other vehicles and to be aware of vulnerable road-users.

“Whether Ireland feels the full force of Ophelia or not it’s important for motorists to prepare themselves for the worst. Stormy conditions are a real danger as not only do gale force winds make maintaining control of the vehicle more difficult, but heavy rainfall can also greatly increase your stopping distance. For example, a car travelling at 120kph can take more than 170 metres to come to a stop in wet and windy conditions,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs warned. “This kind of weather can also really impact on a driver’s visibility so it’s important to drive with extra caution and be on the lookout for vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians who opt to brave the stormy conditions.”

In particular, the AA is warning drivers to exercise caution when driving on motorways as sudden gusts of wind can make what are normally Ireland’s safest roads very hazardous. Strong gusts of wind combined with heavy rain and road spray from other vehicles severely reduces driver visibility and also impacts on the driver’s ability to maintain control of the car.

With visibility likely to be poor, motorists need to slow down and drive at a suitable speed for the conditions as doing so not only gives you more time to react but also reduces your risk of being blown off-course by wind,” Faughnan added. “Our AA Rescue team also sees a spike in breakdowns during these kind of weather conditions so we would urge motorists to give their car a quick once-over to help them avoid an unexpected breakdown. For anyone who does breakdown it’s important that you prioritise your safety before calling for assistance by standing behind a barrier if one is present. Unless it is 100% safe for you to do so it’s often better to call for assistance than attempting to repair the car yourself.”

Meanwhile, the AA is also advising home-owners in areas likely to experience stormy weather to prepare themselves and their homes accordingly. Among the most important steps for home-owners to take if a storm is forecast in their area is to check their roof for loose tiles and prepare their property accordingly.

“As Ophelia is the first severe weather event we’ll have encountered this year, homeowners may not be fully prepared for the potential heavy rainfall and risk of flooding. If possible, we’d recommend that homeowners clear out their gutters and trim any small trees around their property to avoid having their property damaged by water or debris.”

Similar to preparing an emergency kit to have in your car, home-owners are advised to put together a home storm kit containing necessary medication, emergency telephone numbers, a first-aid kit, a torch, and a camera to photograph any damage to ensure they are prepared for the worst.

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