Motorists warned to maintain vigilance

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The Independent Online

Motorists were today urged to remain vigilant despite the thaw with snow, slush and black ice still lingering in sheltered areas.

Road safety chiefs also warned drivers they could skid on grit residue by speeding-up on seemingly clear roads.

Noel Dempsey, Transport Minister, pleaded with motorists to take care.

"Because there is a thaw people may be tempted to start upping their speeds again," she said.

"There are two dangers - patches of ice which have thawed over a period of time.

"And because the roads have been gritted so consistently - national primary, national secondary, important regional roads - there is a danger that can cause accidents as well."

Noel Brett, Road Safety Authority chief executive, said there was a danger motorists could be lulled into a false sense of security with the end of the cold snap in sight.

"As well as the obvious danger from lingering patches of snow and ice in sheltered areas, the roads during the thaw will pose an additional set of challenges to road users," Mr Brett said.

"Specifically motorists need to be aware that grit residue, which has been used in combination with salt, may remain on roads for a few days after the thaw and given the volumes spread drivers should be aware of the risk of skidding on grit.

"This is especially true on bends and in the centre of the road where a build-up of grit will occur."

The RSA warned motorists there may be black ice lingering in sheltered spots and to be wary of spray and reduced visibility on the roads.

Gardai also again advised people to stay off the ice on frozen canals, ponds, lakes, rivers and flooded areas.