If you are anything like us, you have a car that could bring you anywhere in the country but you use it for your commute and to some short drives at the weekend and that’s about it.
But what about the day the sun shines or you have some time off work and want to explore some of this wonderful country of ours? Here is some inspiration for where to go.
Once you know where you are headed, this is what you need to know before hitting the road;
Speed limits across the country follow the following system:
Town and city speed limits (50 km/h): this is the speed limit in the majority of residential and urban areas unless they are covered by a special limit, see below.
National road speed limits (100 km/h): this limit covers national roads and duel carriageways
Regional and local speed limits (80 km/h): this is the usual speed limits for most other roads in the country including rural roads.
Motorway speed limits (120 km/h): motorways connect most of the cities across the country. Worth remembering, learner drivers cannot drive on motorways in Ireland so if you are on a provisional you have to take the scenic route and have a licenced driver with you in the car!
Special speed limits (30 km/h or 60 km/h): the most common place to find the 30km/h speed limit is city centres. The 60km/h is used sometimes on the outer fringes of residential areas.
Speed limits in Ireland can very a lot on long distances so make sure you always keep an eye out for signs. If you are driving through rural Ireland it is common for roads to have a speed limit of 80km/h, even though they wind their way through the countryside. If you are driving on unfamiliar roads, stay as close to the left side as is safe and take your time, remember it’s a limit, not a target!
If you don’t drive between cities often it’s worth remembering there are now a number of toll roads in Ireland that cost different amounts across the country.
M50 Barrier-free with electronic toll: this is the one barrier free toll in the country, that doesn’t mean it’s free though! Its €3.10 if your car is unregistered and you have to remember to log on to www.eflow.ie or pay in cash at a payzone branded outlet before 8pm the day after you travel.
Here’s a handy list so you can have change ready (all prices are for a car paying in cash):
M1 (Gormanston – Monasterboice): €1.90
M3 (Clonee – Kells): €1.40
M4 (Kilcock – Enfield – Kinnegad): €1.40
N6 (Galway – Ballinasloe): €2.90
M7/M8 (Portlaoise – Castletown/Portlaoise – Cullahill): €1.90
N8 (Rathcormac – Fermoy Bypass): €1.90
N25 (Waterford City Bypass): €1.90
East-Link Bridge: €1.75
Dublin Port Tunnel: €10.00/€3.00
Limerick Tunnel: €1.90
If you are likely to be driving toll roads regularly in short or long term it’s a good idea to look into getting an eflow tag so you don’t have to fumble for change or worry about remembering to pay. There are also alternative routes to most toll roads although they are likely to take longer.
From our point of view, there is no safe level of alcohol to consume before driving a car. Legally the drink drive limit is 50mg for all drivers and 20mg for learners and newly qualified drivers. How much alcohol this links to depend so much on your body shape, how much you have eaten and other factors that we aren’t going to suggest an amount. Just don’t drive if you have had an alcoholic drink. Appoint a designated driver or take a taxi, the consequences aren’t worth it. Also worth remembering not to drive if you have taken any kind of drugs that may impair your judgement whether they are prescription or not, if you don’t feel like yourself when under the influence of them don’t get into a car.
Adjust mirrors: if used correctly there should be no part of your own car viewable in your side mirrors, if there is than you are losing out on a valuable view of your blind spots on the road.
Check oil and water levels: you can do some serious damage to your engine by not checking the oil and water before a long trip. Don’t end up by the side of the road when it can be easily avoided with some basic checks.
Check tyre pressure and tread depth: as the only contact you have with the road, your tyres really matter. Before you leave make sure you check the pressure, it may need to be adjusted if you are carrying passengers and don’t usually. Always make sure you have good thread depth on your tyres, most have notches between the thread that show when the tyre needs to be replaced.
Pull over if you get tired: driving long distances if you aren’t used to it can be very tiring. If you feel yourself getting tired, open a window and pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. Getting a cup of coffee and having a short nap will help you get an extra few kilometres but won’t compensate for a full night of sleep. If you are getting too tired, don’t risk it overnight somewhere en route.
We hope these driving tips help you have safe and enjoyable road trip without any unwelcome surprises. If you need information on insuring your car, get in touch today, we would be happy to help.