Belfast Telegraph

Man dies in car crash after snow and ice create havoc on our roads

By Linda Stewart

A 55-year-old man became the latest victim of our roads after Northern Ireland was swept by heavy snow showers and plunging temperatures.

The driver was killed in a two-vehicle crash close to Banbridge yesterday morning as the PSNI warned of wintry conditions causing disruption on our roads.

While the cause of the fatal crash is being investigated, it was one of a number of incidents dealt with by the emergency services during icy conditions.

A number of roads were closed yesterday as snow blanketed parts of Northern Ireland at morning rush hour.

The A1 was closed off after the fatal two-vehicle collision on the A1 dual carriageway near Banbridge at around 7.15am.

One woman, the driver of the other car involved, was taken to hospital with injuries which were not thought to be life-threatening.

Police inspector Leslie Badger said: "The A1 remains closed and we would ask motorists to be patient as we carry out our investigations into the collision.

"If anyone witnessed this collision or has information in relation to it, please contact us in Banbridge on 101."

Upper Bann Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson said: "This is a sad and tragic reminder of just how dangerous our roads can be in all weather conditions, not just the wintry conditions we saw in the area. A family is grieving and they have my deepest sympathy."

In Co Down, the Slievenaboley Road between Castlewellan Road and Dromore was also closed to traffic after it was blocked by a jack-knifed lorry.

Last night, forecasters issued a severe weather warning and predicted more travel disruption to come as the cold westerly flow continued last night and into today. Snow is expected to fall to low levels in Northern Ireland with localised accumulations of 1-3cm.

On higher levels, snow cover will be more widespread with around 4-8cm possible above 200m, especially in the west.

A Met Office spokesman said: "This is a very unstable airmass bringing showers of sleet, snow and hail. Once we lose the effects of daytime sunshine, snow will start to accumulate more widely, and along with ice may present some problems, in particular for road travel on Tuesday morning.

"Problems should reduce steadily further into Tuesday morning, as the March sunshine gets to work on melting the snow, although taking until mid to late morning across upland parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland."

Roads Service staff were on standby to grit the roads, with temperatures forecast to drop below freezing with a risk of snow and ice on roads.

"The salting of roads on the scheduled network considered to be at risk is planned. Motorists are advised to exercise caution when travelling, particularly when driving on untreated roads," a spokesman said.

Forecaster Leon Brown warned of a cold polar flow moving from the northern Atlantic until tomorrow, with temperatures typically 2C below average for early March.

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