Autumn Road Hazards

Autumn Road Hazards

Autumn is the time of the year for leaf peeping and pumpkin picking, but it’s also a time when road and weather conditions start getting tougher.

The change in seasons means a change in driving conditions. The temperature is dropping and drivers should prepare for the weather and the autumn road hazards that the same brings.

A New Driver came across these great top tips for coping with autumnal road hazards:

Rush hour sun glare

Sun glare during the day can make it difficult to see pedestrians, street signs, and oncoming traffic. When the sun sets behind a car, it can make it nearly impossible to see traffic lights ahead or out of your rear-view mirror. To help reduce this hazard clean your windscreen. Smeared and dirty windscreens can make the glare of the low sun even more blinding and dangerous. Make sure you clean the inside as well as the outside of the windscreen with proper window cleaner. Wear sunglasses and use your sun-visors too.

Wet leaves

As pretty as the autumn foliage is, it can also be a hazard to road users. Oil and rubber build up from traffic during the summer months can make roads extra slick when wet. Mix in the falling leaves and you’ve got a pretty slippy situation – when leaves get wet, they have even less grip than ice. Wet leaves can often hide other hazards too, like pot holes. If you see a patch of wet leaves, reduce your speed on approach.

Low tyre pressure

The drop in temperature can cause the air pressure in your tyres to also drop. Car tyres must be properly inflated to maximise fuel efficiency, safety and traction. Head to your nearest petrol station and take a tyre pressure reading and if it is low, inflate the tyres to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Active animals

Autumn can be a dangerous season for animals, drivers and car bonnets as all manner of our furry and feathered friends are getting busy preparing for the winter as well as, eh, just getting busy – October is the start of rutting season when horny deer (sorry) are out looking for a mate. Most animals are active between sunset and midnight, as well as the hours shortly before and after sunrise. This is also when most collisions with animals happen, so be extra vigilant around these times. When you see an animal warning sign, reduce your speed and stay alert. If there is a large animal in the road, dip your headlights – the full beam may cause the animal to freeze and if it doesn’t move, honk your horn. As always though, the most important thing motorists should do is to slow down and leave plenty of space between them and the car in front. This will help avoid most road hazards and allow plenty of time to react.

Source: The Journal.ie

Demand For Irish Driving Tests May Increase In October

Demand For Irish Driving Tests May Increase In October

Drivers who do not exchange their UK licence before the 31st of October 2019, will be forced to take driving lessons and re-sit their theory and driving tests to get an Irish licence. According to Irish Road Safety Authority, CEO Moyagh Murdock, there are plans in place to increase capacity and staff numbers to deal with the expected influx of applications over the coming weeks.

If you live in Ireland and have a UK driving licence, your licence will not be recognised here if there is a no-deal Brexit, so you should apply to convert your UK licence to an Irish licence before Brexit and ensure that you can continue driving legally. Up to 40,000 people who are resident in Ireland but are currently using a UK licence, will be driving illegally if there is a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, the Government has warned. Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee said around 30,000 drivers have already swapped their licences this year, but warned of major consequences for those who do not do so by the end of October.

Irish Road Safety Authority CEO Moyagh Murdock added:

“This will not affect people that are (in Ireland) as a tourist or as a visitor, you will still be able to travel on a UK licence. There are many people who are still driving on a licence they may have acquired from Northern Ireland or in the UK over the years. We want to advise them that after October 31, in the event of a no-deal, it will not be recognised as a valid EU driving licence. Just like other third countries, you will have to go through a very different process and you may find that inconvenient. It could pose problems in terms of insurance and other matters. We have about 250 people a day applying to change from UK and Northern Ireland licences in the event of a hard deal.”

Speaking alongside the junior minister at an event at a National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) office in Santry, Dublin, Ms Murdock warned drivers they could be brought to court if they are found to be driving without a valid licence and there could be implications for their insurance coverage if they are involved in a collision.

Sources: RTE, Irish Times & Citizen Information Ireland.

Driving Test in Ireland

Driving Test in Ireland

Driver testing in Ireland is carried out directly by the RSA, Road Safety Authority. Testing takes place at test centres throughout the country, and in most instances, the test will be arranged for the chosen centre on the application form.

All drivers must take a driving test after they have been issued with two 2-year learner permits. Before you apply for a third or subsequent learner permit for any category of vehicle, you must show evidence that you have applied for, or recently failed, a driving test. You cannot take a driving test for at least six months after getting your first learner permit in the case of motorcycles, cars and work vehicles.

Applying for the test

Waiting times vary from county to county, so it is advisable to apply for a test about six months before the expiry of your second learner permit. The test is standard and all test centres use the same testing procedures.

Preparing for the test

A driving test is designed to make sure that you:

Before your driving test, you should study the Rules of the Road. You should also practise driving as much as possible on all types of roads and in all types of traffic situations. This will improve your driving techniques and build your confidence.

On the day of your test, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the test centre with a few minutes to spare. If your first learner permit was issued after 4 April 2011, you should bring your logbook from your Essential Driver Training (EDT). When your name is called and you are brought into the examination room, your test officially begins.

Technical checks

First you will be asked some questions on the Rules of the Road. Next, if you are doing a driving test for categories B (car), EB (car with trailer) and W (work vehicle), you must explain some technical checks.

The instructor will bring you out to your vehicle and will ask how you would carry out a technical check on three of the following: steering, horn, brakes, tyres, lights, reflectors, indicators, engine oil, coolant, and windscreen washer fluid. To get access to some of these parts, you will have to demonstrate how to open the bonnet and close it securely.

Practical test of skills

Your driving test will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. The examiner will give you clear instructions throughout the test, but if you don’t understand something, ask them to repeat it. Do not panic if you make a mistake during the test. It may not be as serious as you think and it may not mean you have failed.

You will be assessed in the following situations: moving off, driving in traffic, stopping, reversing round a corner, a turn about, a hill start and parking.

The aspects of your driving that will be assessed include:

  • Road positioning
  • Overtaking and passing
  • Anticipation and observation
  • Use of mirrors and signals
  • Progress
  • Speed
  • Compliance with traffic lights
  • Road signs and road markings
  • Proper use of your vehicle controls

You can also expect to make a number of left and right turns, encounter a roundabout and stop at traffic lights. At some point during your test, the examiner will ask you to demonstrate hand signals.

When you return to the test centre, your examiner will bring you back into the examination room to give you the result. If you pass, you will be given a Certificate of Competency, which is valid for two years. Once you have this certificate, you can apply for a full driving licence. If you fail to apply for a full licence during the two-year period, you will have to take your driving test again.

If you fail your driving test, you will be given a detailed list of your mistakes. You should study the list and work on the mistakes before you sit another driving test.

If you are looking to start driving or to apply for a driving test, please contact A New Driver to learn more on how we can help you pass your driving test.

Source:www.citizensinformation.ie

New Road Signs in Ireland

New Road Signs in Ireland

New road signs in Ireland have been introduced.

The new scheme for managing diversions on the M50 is to be fully in place in the coming weeks in Ireland. The scheme was first announced in November 2016, and it establishes emergency diversion routes, a process that took more than two years.

The diversions come into play only when a major incident closes the M50 partially. The traffic will then be diverted from the motorway onto way-marked routes through the suburbs, to the point where motorists can rejoin the M50. The way-marks being used to identify the diversions are a series of black symbols – squares, triangles, circles and diamonds – on yellow backgrounds.

New Road Signs Ireland 2019

The signage will identify diversions along the M50 and nearby sections of its feeder routes, such as the M1, N2, N3, N4, N7 and M11. Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council is the final authority to fit the symbols to its road signs and the process is expected to be completed in coming weeks.

A similar system is being considered for the Cork Ring Road, the M40. In the event of a major incident, motorists will see a message on overhead electric signs advising them that the motorway is closed. The electronic display would tell them which symbol to follow. Gardaí would also be on duty and the motorway operator would also use social media and radio to help inform drivers of what was happening.

New Road Signs in Ireland in Response to Incident

The move is in response to a major disruption caused by serious incidents on the M50 including an incident in 2015 at the N4/M50 junction, which caused traffic gridlock lasting several hours and led to calls for better contingency planning.

Transport Infrastructure developed the diversions after looking at similar systems in the UK and in association with the Interagency Incident Co-ordination Group, which includes representatives of An Garda Síochána, Dublin Fire Brigade, the four Dublin local authorities, and the Motorway Traffic Control Centre.

The system has, as yet, been used only twice. The first time was at the junction of the M50/M1 in 2016 when a major crash closed the junction, and the second was this May when a lorry and a bus collided on the N7, near the M50. In both incidents, traffic had been diverted effectively with the aid of the overhead signs, the new symbols, the Gardaí, radio and social media.

The M50 emergency diversions project should be completed in coming weeks and should be relaunched soon.

Source: The Irish Times via A New Driver

Learner Drivers Avoiding to Take Tests

Learner Drivers Avoiding to Take Tests

Learner drivers have been avoiding to take their driving tests.

Taking your driving test is imperative if you wish to achieve positive results. Avoiding it, it’s only going to lead to delays, frustrations and bad driving habits. 

More than 120,000 learner permit holders who obtained their first licence between 1984 and 2016 have never taken a driving test, new figures show.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said the 125,860 learner permits issued between 2016 and 1984 remain active, meaning they are being renewed every year.

Under the current rules, a driver can renew their learner permit once they have booked a driving test. They do not need to provide proof of having sat the test and there is no legal requirement for a learner driver to take one.

The issue also partly explains the proportion of drivers who fail to show up for their test, with an RSA spokesman saying about 10 per cent of applicants, up to 500 a week, fail to attend.

The RSA said while longer waits for a driving test were an issue for some drivers between 2016 and last year, the average waiting time nationally now stands at 8.4 weeks, following the hiring of additional testers.

The figures were released by the RSA following a Freedom of Information request from The Irish Times and cover the time period from 1980.

The authority said the recent Clancy Amendment – which introduced penalties for learners who drive unaccompanied – has led to a 30 per cent increase in driving test bookings. It believes the legal change will see the number of long-term learners permit holders gradually fall.

If you are looking to take your driving test you can click here to contact A New Driver.

(Source: The Irish Times)

UK Driving Licences in Ireland

UK Driving Licences in Ireland

The Road Safety Authority says drivers in Ireland with UK licences will need to swap their permits.

If you live in Ireland and have a UK driving licence, your licence will not be recognised here if there is a no-deal Brexit. You should apply to convert your UK licence to an Irish licence before 29 March 2019 to ensure that you can continue driving here if this situation arises.

UK licence holders are able to retain almost all categories and permissions granted by their current permit under exchange of licence arrangements in place at the moment. But national licence categories are the exception and cannot be transferred to Irish licences, according to NDLS. UK licences can be swapped for Irish ones in around 17 days.

How To Apply

You have to apply in person to one of the of the NDLS centres. You do not have to provide photographs with your application but you do need to bring photographic ID, proof of your residency entitlement, evidence of your PPS Number and proof of address with you in order to confirm you are the person who is exchanging your driving licence. You apply to exchange your driving licence using driving licence application form (D401) which is available from NDLS centres, driving test centres, driving theory test centres and Garda stations. You can also download the driving licence application form (pdf) as well as guidance notes (pdf).

Your completed application form must be accompanied by the following:

  • Your driving licence. If your driving licence is lost or expired, you need a letter of entitlement from the licensing authority in the state that issued your licence
  • A Driving Licence Medical Report Form may be required
  • A Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form may be required
  • The appropriate fee – see Rates above

It may take up to 3 months for your licence to be exchanged, as the NDLS must verify each foreign licence with the country that issued it.

The NDLS has a published a useful FAQ document on Brexit and driving licences. To read the full version, please click on FAQ on Brexit Implications.

But keep in mind: In case there is an agreed Brexit, UK driving licences will continue to be recognised across the EU.

(Source: citizen information Ireland)

New Laws and Penalties for Learner Drivers in Ireland

New Laws and Penalties for Learner Drivers in Ireland

Here are the new rules for learner drivers in Ireland. It’s important to book your driving test asap and avoid punishment.

Drivers holding a full Irish license who allow learner drivers to use their car unaccompanied could end up behind bars under new legislation which came into effect last month in Ireland.

The so-called ‘Clancy Amendment’, means motorists could face new penalties if they allow learners to drive their cars without the proper care.

Previous Rules

Until now, learner drivers had to be accompanied by someone who holds a full licence. If a learner driver was caught driving unaccompanied, they could face a maximum fine of €1,000, and the person who owned the vehicle would not face any punishment.

New Rules

The new rules state that motorists who let learner drivers use their cars unaccompanied will face jail time or fines under new laws. Unaccompanied learner drivers may now have their vehicle seized by gardaí.

In addition, anyone who loans a car to an unaccompanied learner driver faces prosecution and having their car impounded, following the amendment to the law.

The Clancy Amendment Law

The amendment is named after the Clancy family, who lost two members in a crash involving an unaccompanied learner driver three years ago in Ireland.

Noel Clancy lost his wife Geraldine (58) and daughter Louise (22) on December 22, 2015. At the time, Mr Clancy even came across the accident on his way home and offered to help, not realising who was in the overturned car.

Mr Clancy has repeatedly called for stricter measures to crack down on unaccompanied learner drivers. He said in 2016: “I think it is important to reflect on the question, on any given day, (of) how many learner drivers are on the roads of Ireland unaccompanied. I am calling on the minister to implement legislation so that allowing one’s car to be driven by an unaccompanied learner driver is an offence and would make both the car owner and driver equally accountable in law.

The RSA said a learner permit is not a licence and drivers are at risk, due to their inexperience, when they’re learning to drive.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said on Friday that he hopes the legislation will help to save lives: “Unaccompanied learner driving is illegal and it is dangerous. Once and for all we need to stamp out the entirely false notion that once someone has a learner permit they are free to drive as they wish. A learner permit is not a driving licence. It does not grant the holder the automatic right to use a car for commuting or socialising purposes, unless, of course, that learner is accompanied,” he said.

Driving At Night

Driving At Night

Today is the shortest day of the year, which means we will have the least amount of natural daylight, which poses a challenge for drivers who are leaving for work and coming home from work in darkness. Every morning in Dublin, there are several near misses on our roads and often reports on the radio of early morning crashes on the M50. We are encouraging new drivers to be extra careful in the darker days and below, we have some tips on what you can do to be more prepared.

Familiar routes can pose totally different challenges in the dark and you really do need to be extra careful when driving, even if you think you know the road well. Even during the day, darker conditions bring poor visibility and higher risk of collisions, simply because it can be harder to spot hazards.

Depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark, and the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can temporarily blind a driver. Even with high-beam headlights on, visibility is limited to about 500 feet (250 feet for normal headlights) creating less time to react to something in the road, especially when driving at higher speeds.

What should you do to combat darkness?

  • Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they’re clean
  • Dim your dashboard
  • Look away from oncoming lights
  • If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective
  • Clean the windshield to eliminate streaks
  • Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time

How can you make it home safely during rush hour?

  • Don’t be an impatient driver; slow down
  • Stay in your lane and beware of drivers who dart from lane to lane
  • Even though the route may be familiar, don’t go on autopilot; stay alert
  • In unfamiliar areas, consult a map before you go and memorize your route
  • Don’t touch your phone, eat, drink or do other things that are distracting

The National Sleep Foundation offers this advice to combat fatigue:

  • Get seven or more hours of sleep a night
  • Don’t drive if you’ve been awake for 16 hours or more
  • Stop every two hours to rest
  • Pull over and take a nap if you’re drowsy
  • Travel during times you are normally awake

While we do only one quarter of our driving at night, 50% of traffic deaths happen at night. It doesn’t matter whether the road is familiar or not, driving at night is always more dangerous.

Stay Alert, Stay Alive.

Autumn Road Hazards

Autumn Road Hazards

Driving conditions and road hazards

The change in season means a change in driving conditions and road hazards. We Irish were lucky this year to have a dry and bright summer, but the temperatures are dropping and drivers should prepare for the driving conditions and the road hazards that the new season brings.

So, let’s have a look at a few tips for coping with autumnal road hazards:

Sun glare

Sun glare during the day can make it difficult to see pedestrians, street signs, and oncoming traffic. When the sun sets behind a car, it can make it nearly impossible to see traffic lights ahead or out of your rearview mirror.

To help reduce this hazard, make sure to clean your windscreen. Smeared and dirty windscreens can make the glare of the low sun even more blinding and dangerous. Make sure you clean the inside as well as the outside of the windscreen with proper window cleaner. Wear sunglasses and use your sun-visors too.

Leaves

The new season brings amazing looking colours on trees but is also brings dirt and hazard. As pretty as the autumn foliage is, it can be quite dangerous to road users. Oil and rubber build-up from traffic during the summer months and they can make roads extra slippery when wet.

If you mix in the falling leaves, you’ve got a pretty slippy situation! When leaves get wet, they have even less grip than ice. Wet leaves can often hide other hazards too, like pot holes. If you see a patch of wet leaves, reduce your speed on approach.

Low tyre pressure

The drop in temperature can cause the air pressure in your tyres to also drop. Car tyres must be properly inflated to maximise fuel efficiency, safety and traction. Head to your nearest petrol station and take a tyre pressure reading and if it is low, inflate the tyres to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Stay safe and take care!

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