Road Safety this Winter


Road Safety this Winter

Be Winter Ready

In 2018 a total of 149 people lost their lives on Irish Roads, 42 of those killed were pedestrians and a further nine were cyclists. Safety is key for road users especially during the dark wintry months.

As a road user it is your responsibility to check your tyres which are the only point of contact with the road. It was found that tyres were a contributory factor in an average of 14 roads deaths per year.  Each month 8,500 vehicles are classified as being dangerously defective for ‘Tyre Tread’ and ‘Tyre Condition’ across the NCT and CVRT testing systems. Driving on dangerous or under-inflated tyres puts your life and the lives of other road users at risk.

Slow Down! Excessive and inappropriate speed is a contributory factor in approximately one third of fatal road traffic collisions. The higher the speed, the greater the likelihood is of a collision happening and the more severe the outcome of that collision. Remember the two second rule, or four in wet conditions, that’s all the braking space you will have if you need to stop in a hurry.

Cyclists are entitled to road space as much as cars, vans, goods vehicles or any other vehicle on the road. Motorists must keep a safe distance when over taking cyclists, 1 metre clearance when over taking a cyclist in areas 50km/h and under and 1.5 metres in areas over 50km/h. Cyclists should always wear a helmet and ensure the bike is serviced regularly, bikes should not be used unless it is road worthy. All cyclists young and old should be highly visible to other road users by wearing a Hi-Vi vest and using lights.  Like all road users, cyclists must obey the Rules of the Road.

In 2018, 49 pedestrians were killed and 1,124 injured on Ireland’s roads. That's 18% of all fatalities and 12% of all casualties from road collisions in the country. More than two-thirds of fatal pedestrian collisions happen at night. Although you can hear a car coming and see its lights, the driver may not see you (and certainly won’t hear you).  To protect yourself make sure you  always wear a pair of reflective armbands, high-visibility belt or other reflective or fluorescent clothing which will help you to be seen from a distance.  On country roads carry a torch and most importantly walk facing oncoming traffic.

And finally put away the mobile phones.  17% of those who lost their lives in 2018 were operating mobile phones while driving.

Michael Finnegan Road Safety Officier, Meath County Council.

Please visit the Be Winter Ready website to download your own copy of the Office of Emergency Planning ‘Be Winter Ready’ booklet which includes tips and contacts details for organisations and agencies that can provide further guidance and assistance during periods of severe weather.

You will also find a lot more information and useful links.