Driving tips for Ireland 01
You may find some of the following useful; many thanks to Andi Micheli for inspiring them: Road safety in Ireland is regulated by the Department of Transport, Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the National Roads Authority (NRA).
Speed limits, introduced between 18-20 January and effective from 20 January, 2005, mean that all speed restriction signs are in kilometres rather than miles. Additionally, former speed restrictions have been adjusted and amended as follows:
- Towns and cities: 50kph = 31mph
- Regional [R] roads: 80kph = 50mph [change from previous 60mph)
- National roads [N roads]: 100kph = 62mph
- Motorway[M]: 120kph = 75mph
- The principal changes are that non-national roads [where the road number does not have the prefix N] have an upper limit of 80kph [50mph], previously 98kph = 60mph. Motorways have a slightly higher upper limit. UK drivers should note that dual carriageways [ie. Twin-lane non-motorway road] are governed by class of road, ie., N or otherwise.
Keeping to the speed limit:
Visitors to Ireland often wonder how the local drivers are not caught speeding more frequently. They appear to be driving at least 10k over the limit at any time, sometimes more. There are a few factors to be considered: Ireland does not have a network of fixed speed cameras, although there are many mobile units. While it is not necessary to notify drivers of the presence of a speed camera, Irish drivers can often spot the telltale signs, typically the white Ford (or other large) transit van parked a little off the road with concealed rear window panels.
There are a few considerations for visiting drivers:
- There are penalties for speeding, so if you're in a hire car, the company may pass these onto your account.
- If you're driving a foreign-registered car, Ireland does not have a reciprocal arrangement with other countries, so you may get away with a caution (unless your speeding results in an accident, in which case you may be prosecuted).
- Likewise, your foreign number plate can't be tracked and fined (although there is a move within the EU to have reciprocal fines).
- Speed camera tolerance: I don't know what the current figures are - I would guess about 5-6k over the limit. It's only a hunch though!
HIRE CAR TIPS
- If you have booked online, don't expect that price to be final. Apart from whatever fuel you use, you will be offered a number of extras. Prices below are based on 4 day's hire on top of our 120 Euro basic charge. You will be offered these when collecting the car and they include:
- Collision damage waiver or CDW [protected cover in case of accident; normal cover only provides some of the collision cost] = 50 Euro. Depends on lots of factors; I would suggest it if you're not a right-hand driver. This is essentially an extra insurance charge and extremely annoying since the hire charge should include full car insurance, which isn't necessarily expensive since cheap car insurance does exist.. Since the cost of labour in Ireland is relatively high, the alternative to not paying the CDW insurance is a bill totalling several thousands of Euro. It is a calculated risk and a personal decision.
- Additional driver [worth it if you're doing a lot of driving = 28 Euro
- Refuelling charge = 57.60 Euro. We didn't have time to refill the tank, so this is the charge in lieu.It's better to leave the tank full if you can find a cheap filling station.
- Existing damage: I recommend that you do a full visual check on the hire car and check for damage not noted on the schedule or car diagram. If the car is returned with damage additional to that marked on the diagram, you may be charged. In practice they don't tend to get too worried about small scratches but for anything else, you might get an unwanted bill or extra charge on your credit card!
- Remember your driving licence; you must carry it at all times when driving.
- Caution is needed when parking, particularly in areas where clampers are in operation. You can deal with a parking ticket and a fine (for which the hire company will charge you), but if you get clamped, not only do you have to pay €90 on the spot in Dublin but have to wait for the clampers to unclamp you. This might mean a missed connection at the airport, a penalty for late return from the hire company etc. Be cautious when parking and ask a local if in doubt. In Dublin there are streets beside each other with different regulations - for examples, one street might have 7am-6pm charges and the next might be 24/7. At least multi-storey car parks display their charges and it is easier to pay on your return when you know how much actual time you used.
- Your hire car should be fitted with an eToll electronic tag for use on tolled roads (ask about this); otherwise, you need to be aware of tolled roads and avoid them. They are listed on the NRA's website but the problem with Dublin is that you will waste a lot of time avoiding the main ring motorway, the M50, just to avoid a small charge. I don't yet have any information about foreign-registered cars using the system, although they recommend you buy a tag. To my knowledge there is no way at present to track visiting cars and impose fines, speeding fines and the like, but this may change in the future.
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