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.
Having a clean windscreen is very important for safe driving. Trying to see ahead is difficult when you have a combination of sunlight and a screen covered in dirt: smeared bug guts and general greasy road grime can decrease your visibility resulting in unsafe driving. The current dry weather in Ireland certainly does not help with keeping your windscreens clear and clean.
So, what can you do to help make vision through your windscreen better at this time of year? First of all, resist the temptation to wash your car constantly as we must save water due to the dry weather. Second, you can follow these simple steps to cleaning windscreens, so you can drive safely with a clear view of the road ahead:
Clean the inside of the windscreen first – Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the windscreen interior and remove dust particle build-up, which can impact your vision of the road.
Spray a cleaning product – Spray the interior of the glass with a windscreen cleaning product. You can find it in any local auto store or supermarket.
Clean again – Use the clean side of the microfiber cloth, or a new cloth entirely, to wipe the windscreen around the edges. Once the edges have been cleaned, spray the area again and proceed to wipe the remainder of the windscreen. To make it shine and streak free, take a clean cloth and wipe over all the internal windscreen glass.
Clean the outside – For the external glass, give the windscreen a quick wipe over and spray the windscreen with the windscreen cleaning product. Use a pint of water – not more than that to avoid water waste – and rinse down the windscreen from top to bottom with clean water to completely remove all dirt and build up.
Dry well inside and outside – use a lint-free cloth to dry the windscreen completely. Adding a small amount of white vinegar on the clean cloth ensures a streak-free shine.
Enjoy a clean windscreen and safe driving!
Driving during the summer in hot weather conditions can pose significant challenges and risks to the health and safety of drivers and passengers, so it is important to keep in mind these safety tips for summer car traveling.
Safety Tips for Summer Car Traveling
Plenty of fluids
Plenty of fluids is one of the most import safety tips for summer car traveling. Fluids are important for you and for your car as well. Cars and drivers must top up on fluids before taking any trips. For drivers, driving while you are hot will cause you to become dehydrated more quickly. Make sure you take on fluids regularly because dehydration reduces your ability to think and react, and therefore increases the risk you’ll have an accident.
For the cars, the engines get extremely hot in warm weather. Ensure your coolant is always topped up and turn off your engine during traffic. Windscreens also get very dirty in dry weather and marks can amplify sun glare. Plenty of windscreen washer fluid or water will help you maintain a clear view of the sun.
Starting with a cool car is another important safety tip for summer car traveling. Give yourself the best chance of a relaxing drive in the sun by not getting into an already baking hot car. Parking in the shade, opening your doors and windows or running your air-con for a few minutes before setting off will cool your car down, so that you can avoid getting worked up by the heat before a journey. Keep your vehicle well ventilated to avoid drowsiness and possible sunstrokes. Sunstroke is when your body overheats, and it can be particularly problematic for motorcyclists in heavy protective gear if riding in slow traffic where the wind chill doesn’t provide any cooling effect.
Be mindful of summer allergies
Allergies can be very problematic when driving. The last place you want to be constantly sneezing is behind the wheel of a car while driving. Another problem can be if you are taking anti-histamines tablets, as their known to give side effects such as blurred vision and drowsiness, which would evidently impair a person’s ability to drive. Always keep the following in mind:
- Only take medication which doesn’t cause drowsiness
- Consider getting someone else to drive if you are having a particularly bad hayfever day
- Consider cabin pollen filters for your make of vehicle
- Keep tissues close to hand
- Slow down and drop back if you’re about to sneeze
- Wear sunglasses to block out bright sunlight
- Close windows and air vents to reduce pollen grains getting into the vehicle
- Vacuum car mats and carpets regularly during summer, to get rid of dust
Tyre blowouts are a common occurrence in hot weather. According to the AA, tyres with existing damage that are under inflated will become even more aggravated at higher temperatures, which increases the likelihood of blowouts and punctures. Keep your tyre pressure at the optimum level for summer driving.
You can also read more about driving distractions and safety here.
ANewDriver wishes you a season ahead: Drive safe and enjoy summerwith these safety tips for summer car traveling!
What is the EDT?
EDT stands for Essential Driver Training. It is a mandatory training course that teaches fundamental driving skills to learner car drivers. It is part of the RSA’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) scheme and is intended to improve road safety. EDT is not required if your first learner permit was issued before 4 April 2011. All other learner drivers must complete EDT before taking their driving test. EDT courses Ireland provided by A New Driver are designed to assist you in meeting this requirement.
Should I choose EDT Courses?
Studies show that young drivers and inexperienced drivers are more likely to die or be seriously injured in collisions, and EDT is one of several measures introduced by the RSA to help improve critical driving knowledge, skills and behaviours of new drivers.
EDT is a course of 12 one-hour lessons. These lessons are designed to cover certain critical driving skills and improve your practical driving skills.
As you complete each lesson, your Approved Driving Instructor, James, will record your progress in a specially issued logbook. After you finish your EDT course, you may still need additional lessons with an ADI to improve your driving skills.
Benefits of EDT Courses Ireland
Completing your essential driver training course will help you to:
- understand what it means to be a better safer driver.
- practice your driving skills in a structured way that is focussed on your own learning needs.
- develop lifelong skills that will make you a better safer driver.
Preparation for your first lesson
When you book your lessons with A New Driver, we will let you know what lessons, practice and background reading you should do before starting the course. We will check your learner permit, and if you are using your own car, will check to make sure your insurance, motor tax, NCT and the roadworthiness of the vehicle are all in order. We will give you a logbook with your name, address, date of birth and learner permit driver number. You should bring this logbook to each lesson and make sure all the appropriate sections are filled out after each lesson.
EDT lessons timeline
- Lessons 1-8 must be taken in sequence, but lessons 9-12 may be taken in any order.
- Each of the 12 lessons in EDT lasts about one hour.
- We recommend that you leave at least two weeks between each EDT lesson to allow for further instruction, practice and learning.
- The EDT course is best spread out over six months.
Each of the EDT lessons has particular objectives
The 12 lessons are titled:
- LESSON 1: CAR CONTROLS AND SAFETY CHECKS
- LESSON 2: CORRECT POSITIONING
- LESSON 3: CHANGING DIRECTION
- LESSON 4: PROGRESSION MANAGEMENT
- LESSON 5: CORRECT POSITIONING
- LESSON 6: ANTICIPATION AND REACTION
- LESSON 7: SHARING THE ROAD
- LESSON 8: DRIVING SAFELY THROUGH TRAFFIC
- LESSON 9: CHANGING DIRECTION (MORE COMPLEX SITUATIONS)
- LESSON 10: SPEED MANAGEMENT
- LESSON 11: DRIVING CALMLY
- LESSON 12: NIGHT DRIVING
You should prepare for each lesson using the RSA EDT Syllabus PDF Booklet
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– By ANewDriver
ANewDriver came across some pretty funny signs and situations on Irish roads!
The first snowfall of 2018 for many has led to a good deal of slipping and sliding on our roads. So it’s time to scrape the ice off that hardy annual, the winter driving tips. Driving In The Snow: what you need to know.