Ireland’s roads have never been busier, we are at capacity on many roads around the country and way over it on the M50 surrounding the capital. This means driving has never been more of a challenge. So, we thought we would ask experts for some advanced driving tips that may help you become a smarter driver and get where you are going safe and sound.
Advanced and defensive driving are terms that are sometimes confused so we asked driving expert Colm Branigan from Advanced Driving for his definitions:
Advanced driving is a marketing term for any driver training a person takes after they have passed their driving test,” Colm adds that defensive driving is a technique that is thought as part of an advanced driving course. John Paul Guiheen from the Road Safety Authority of Ireland says, “courses are designed to develop higher standards of skill, knowledge and behaviour by all road users”.
Defensive driving is one of the components of an advanced driving course. Colm defines it as “how you fit in with other drivers on the road and having an ability to anticipate what they might do next and take action based on this”.
Defensive driving techniques that any of us can easily implement include:
It is probably something we are all guilty of at one time or another, Colm says, “giving yourself extra time will alter driving and how you react to others on the road” in a good way. One of the strands of advanced driving is looking at attitudinal change and ensuring you are in the right frame of mind when you are on the road. This is particularly important if you drive to work, so you arrive at the office relaxed and ready for the day.
By this we mean leave plenty of space around your car when you are driving. It is one of the key elements of defensive driving. If you need help figuring out how much distance you should leave, follow the two second rule. It’s easy, let the vehicle in front of you pass something static like a lamppost and say “only a fool breaks the two second rule” at a normal pace. If you have passed the lamp post before you finish, then you are too close.
Gently press the breaks to give yourself more room to react if something happens to the driver in front.
When we drive, we cannot control the actions of others but we can anticipate them and make a plan to act and keep ourselves and other road users safe. Advanced driving encourages us to scan and view the road further ahead, to look up and out beyond the foreground. Colm says this allows us to, “see a situation earlier so we have more time to react”.
We have some of the most varied weather in Europe in Ireland so, as drivers, we need to be able to adapt quickly and easily to changes as they happen. We asked Colm’s advice on driving in a variety of weather conditions:
Another consideration as you drive, particularly in rural areas is animals on the road. John Paul Guiheen from the Safety Authority of Ireland says "in rural areas, you are likely to occasionally encounter tractors and animals on the road so it is important to drive slowly and carefully, obey wildlife warning signs and any associated speed changes. Always slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching or overtaking animals”.
Although this tip will cost money, we believe it will be money well spent, there is nothing like practicing with an expert. Completing a course may even reduce the cost of your car insurance.
If your insurance is up for renewal soon, get a quote from us, we might help you save some money!