Driving in hot weather conditions can pose significant challenges and risks to the health and safety of drivers, passengers and passers-by alike.
Irish hot weather is not often here, but when it is, it’s important to be aware of the temperature changes to stay safe when driving, and prepared for hitting the road during our short-lived periods of glorious summer sun.
So here is A New Driver’s list of summer driving safety tips to help you stay safe and cool on the Irish roads (and abroad!) this summer, while driving in hot weather conditions.
Avoid sun glare
Impaired vision from the sun is a common cause of accidents during the summer. Replace worn windscreen wipers to help keep your windscreen clean, and use sunglasses and overhead sun visors to help block out the sun from your eyes.
Check you tyres
Tyres can blowouts easier in hotter weather. According to the AA, tyres with existing damage that are under inflated will become even more aggravated in higher temperatures, which increases the chances of blowouts and punctures. It’s extremely important to keep your tyre pressure at the optimum level for summer driving.
Prepare for weather changes
We always pay the price for little good weather we get in Ireland. Be prepared to adapt your driving style in the event of any sudden changes in the weather conditions, as driving through summer storms comes with a different set of challenges, such as wind gusts and hailstones.
We often underestimate the importance of staying hydrated at all times, but specially during the summer. It’s extremely important to keep hydrated when stuck in a long traffic jam under the sun. Take plenty of cold water with you before heading out on longer journeys, and also enough for you and all the passengers in the car with you.
Top your car up
Car engines get extremely hot in warm weather, especially in standstill traffic. Ensure your coolant is always topped up and turn off your engine during traffic, which will also help save fuel. Windscreens also get very dirty in dry weather and marks can amplify sun glare. Plenty of windscreen washer fluid will help you maintain a clear view in the sun.
Park in the shade
It’s not possible to park in the shade at all times, but when you can, please do so. Give yourself the best chance of a relaxing drive by not getting into an already baking hot car: park in the shade, open your doors and windows, run your air conditioning for a few minutes before setting off, so your car can be cool or it can cool down and avoid getting worked up by the heat before a journey.
Be aware of hay-fever
Hay-fever is a condition which can be very problematic when driving. Many Irish people suffer from allergies during the summer, so be aware of what of the issues this can cause while driving. Sneezing behind the wheel of a car going at 100km/per hour can be a dangerous thing to do if it’s happening non-stop. Allergy tablets can also cause blurred vision and drowsiness, which would evidently impair a person’s ability to drive. It’s always important to check the labels of any medication before taking them, especially if you’re planning on driving afterwards.
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.
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 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)
Many roundabouts have different road layouts, but let’s have a look at the roundabout rules in Ireland.
It is not possible to cover all possible layouts, however, the general rules given are a basic guide for approaching any roundabout.
If a roundabout is controlled by traffic lights, the traffic lights must be obeyed. Motorists should be aware of other road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists, horse riders, large or long vehicles and so on, who may have to change their position on the road to get around the roundabout safely.
It is also important to watch out for pedestrians who may be attempting to cross the roundabout. Enquiries relating to particular roundabouts may be directed to the Gardaí or to the local authorities. By law, a driver must enter a roundabout by turning to the left. Failure to do so is an offence.
If you are guilty of this offence and you pay the fixed charge, you will get one penalty point on your licence. If you choose not to pay the fixed charge and go to court instead, you will get three penalty points on your licence if you are convicted.
Not every roundabout is the same. they are different shapes and sizes and can have different numbers of exits. some are controlled by traffic lights. The purpose of having a roundabout is:
to reduce delays – traffic flows smoothly compared to the stop and go traffic at normal intersections such as at traffic lights, to significantly reduce the risk of collisions
to reduce pollution – emissions from vehicles on roundabouts are less than they would be at traffic light junctions.
This ‘golden rule’ should help motorists to drive safely at any roundabout regardless of the number of exits: think of the roundabout as a clock.
If taking any exit from the 6 o’clock to the 12 o’clock position, motorists should generally approach in the left-hand lane.
If taking any exit between the 12 o’clock to the 6 o’clock positions, motorists should generally approach in the right-hand lane.
If there are road markings showing you what lane you should be in, follow those directions. Traffic conditions might sometimes mean you have to take a different approach but, in the main, the ‘golden rule’ will help you to drive safely on almost any roundabout.
Approaching a roundabout
Conditions at roundabouts may vary. When you’re coming up to a roundabout, look for directional arrows, road markings or signs which might be indicating which lane you should use for the exit you’re taking.
Move into the correct lane in good time. use the 12 o’clock ‘golden rule’ to help you plan a safe course of action unless road signs indicate otherwise.
Treat the roundabout as a junction, yield to traffic coming from the right, but keep moving if the way is clear.
Making a left turn
Approach in the left-hand lane, indicate ‘left’ as you approach and continue to indicate until you have taken the left exit. Going straight ahead (or any exit to the left of 12 o’clock);
Approach in the left-hand lane (unless road markings say otherwise) but do not indicate ‘left’ until you have passed the exit before the one you intend to take. Where traffic conditions dictate otherwise, for example, a long line of traffic in left lane signalling left or road works in the left lane, you may follow the course shown by the broken red line. Taking any later exits (those past 12 o’clock – Right);
Approach in the right-hand lane (unless road markings say otherwise), indicate ‘right ‘on your approach and leave your indicator on until you have passed the exit before the one you intend to take. then change to the ‘left’ turn indicator.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
A new drink-driving rule in Ireland is now on.
New rules on drink-driving took effect last night in Ireland. From now on, it will automatically disqualify any motorists who are found to have consumed alcohol.
The commencement of the provisions of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018 from midnight was announced by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports, Shane Ross.
The laws, which ensure that all drink drivers, without exception, will receive a driving disqualification, replace previous legislation which provided for penalty points for some drivers instead of a disqualification. Those drivers will now face a disqualification from driving for three months.
Before now, a driver detected with a blood alcohol concentration of between 50 and 80 milligrams was punished with a €200 fine and three penalty points.
Speaking yesterday, Minister Ross said the measures were a “significant step in clamping down on the scourge of drink driving“.
“There are few more irresponsible and dangerous things people can do in everyday life than drink and drive. It was always wrong to give people the mild slap on the wrist of three penalty points for such potentially lethal behaviour, and it is a great satisfaction to know that in future people who behave this way will face a disqualification from driving for three months. Let me be clear – we are not interested in punishing people, what we want is for people to behave responsibly.”
Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said alcohol consumption by road users is still a substantial problem in Ireland.
“The most up to date statistics indicate it’s a factor in 39% of driver fatalities. The introduction of a three-month disqualification for drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg sends out a clear signal that drink driving is something that is no longer acceptable or tolerable in our communities. This measure will save lives and prevent injuries. Importantly it will assist in achieving the Government’s road safety strategy target of reducing deaths to 124 or fewer annually by the end of 2020. ”
Ms Murdock also advised motorists to take extra care on the roads over the October Bank Holiday weekend. This was reiterated by Chief Superintendent Finbarr Murphy from the Roads Policing Bureau who said that gardai would focus on all intoxicated driving this weekend. He also said on An Garda Síochána welcomed the change in legislation.
Source: Breaking News Ireland
It is important to understand the good practices of driving in school zones and special limits zone.
As the final preparations for a new school term begin, in homes and schools around the country, the RSA Road Safety Authority is calling on drivers, parents, guardians and teachers, to make sure road safety is top of the ‘back to school’ checklist. The RSA is reminding parents to ensure their child is visible when walking or cycling on the roads, or when waiting for the school bus.
According to Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority Ireland, parents and guardians have the responsibility to ensure the youngest and most vulnerable road-users are safe when travelling to and from school. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ensure they wear high visibility material when walking, cycling or getting the bus to school. This will help other road-users to see them and to slow down when they are nearby.
Drivers in School Areas
Motorists should also be on the look-out for children making their journey to school and to modify their behaviour accordingly. Drivers should know and respect at all times the speed limit around special areas and schools. It is important for drivers to keep in mind that they must watch out for all children in special areas in public, as children often do not have the skills to cross roads safely.
Here are some Back to School Tips from the RSA:
- Understand the driving limit in the area you are driving, and always watch out for children and families crossing on special areas and nearby;
- Research shows that children under 12 should be accompanied if walking or cycling to school as they don’t have the necessary skills or experience to manage traffic or cross the roads safely. So make sure your child is accompanied by a responsible adult until they’re old enough to go on their own;
- If your child travels to school by bus or car, make sure they use the correct restraint at all times, for example, a child car seat, booster cushion or safety belt;
- Show them the correct way to get on and off the bus, in particular, where they should stand to safely wait for its arrival and before crossing the road;
- If your child walks or cycles to school, make sure they are wearing the proper safety and high visibility gear – a helmet and high vis if they cycle, and a high vis vest or armband if they walk. Make sure their bicycle has working lights, both front and rear, and a bell;
- For older children who may walk or cycle to school, it is important that they learn how to share the road safely with other road users, for example, how to use hand signals to indicate a manoeuvre and always obey the Rules of the Road;
- Teach your child the ‘Safe Cross Code’ and make it a part of their ‘going to school’ routine.
Remember, the best person to teach your child how to use the roads safely is you. So set a good example and always demonstrate safe road use when using the roads.