A guide to driving in Ireland or abroad this Summer…

Driving in Ireland or abroad

It’s here at last, the temperature is rising and the evenings are stretching to nearly 10.00pm. 

Around this time of year we begin to look forward to some sort of annual holiday, be it in a mobile home in Wexford,  the camp site in Clare or fun in the sun in the Mediterranean.

Pack the bags, then unpack them because they are overweight check all the usual items you will need and pray for the weather!

For those holidaying at home in Ireland, well the best of luck! If the weather stays fine it will be a memorable holiday, if it doesn’t, it’ll be memorable for the wrong reasons!

Watch out for and allow for tourists driving hire cars around our beautiful country and possible erratic decisions, particularly at large interchanges where they may be confused. The badging on the back window is usually evident such as: Hertz, Enterprise, Thrifty, Avis, Dooley Car Rentals, Budget and Sixt to name but a few. The vehicles are generally new or nearly new, cleaned and polished, sat-nav visible through the rear window, map in hand, driving a little slow, driving close to the left and undecided on lane position approaching a roundabout.

They are liable to stop abruptly when they feel they’ve missed their turn so it is extremely important to recognise the signs, be patient and allow space between vehicles.

Driving in Ireland 595

Sunlight can be a problem if you are not prepared. Although we have sunlight all year round (when it’s not cloudy and overcast!), during the summer months we have prolonged periods and it is important that you have your windows cleaned and suitable glasses to wear to decrease the suns glare.  You may be able to see everything that is going on around you but others may not. It is important to anticipate the probable actions of other road users. 

Low Sunlight can have the following effects:

  • Shows up smears on windscreen
  • Difficult to see clearly
  • Create glare on wet roads
  • Sunlight flickers where there are trees and can temporarily blind your view
  • It may dazzle those emerging from side roads
  • Difficult to see brake lights / indicators

Ensure you realise the dangers, be prepared, be equiped and be cautious while sharing the road.

Glare on Window

Driving Abroad

For those going abroad, most will not bother hiring a car if they are near a large resort. Too much hassle. But those on a touring holiday or at a campsite with the shops some distance away probably will.

When you arrive to collect your hire car, you will probably not get a whole lot of guidance as these people are dealing with about 20 different languages a day.

Check out the hire company website for local information on the best route to where you are initially going to. Whether you have a sat-nav or not, print off and look closely at an actual map of your route from the hire company to the main artery to your destination. This will help to orientate you before the vehicle starts to move. Having some sort of visual image of the landscape in your head generally helps. Good idea to have some chilled water in the cabin as well.

Car Rental 595

Familiarise yourself with the switchgear such as air conditioning, wipers, lights (tunnels) and look at the dash warning lights to identify what safety features are on board such as Stability Control etc.

Check which side the fuel filler is on (there is normally a small arrow beside the fuel gauge), walk around the vehicle and note any damage. Look at the tyres and make sure you are happy with their condition and the tread depth. You and your family may have to depend on them later. Also, you have possibly been up since early morning, had a 3-4 hour flight and are probably tired already, ensure you freshen up, have a cup of coffee and are alert before setting out.

“Recognise the signs, be patient and allow space between vehicles”

If you are driving on the opposite side of the road to your normal habitat, exercise caution when turning right / left at a junction, exiting a car park or a service station. Be aware on rural roads that the road may not have a centreline and it is all too easy to revert to your usual side of the road, especially when viewing some marvellous scenery! This includes those who are experienced at driving on the right. Don’t become overconfident.

Holidays Spain

In some countries, Spain for example the slip road to join a motorway can be quite short, so build up sufficient speed early to merge with other traffic. Although you may be on holiday, the locals may not be so avoid driving slow to look around. This will only encourage tailgating. If you are in an MPV 7 seater with kids in the third row, there is no space for a rear impact to be absorbed. This is a particular risk where there is rain after a long dry period where the layer of rubber on the surface creates very slippery conditions.

“Don’t become overconfident”

Lastly, avoid refilling the vehicle for return at a service station near the hire company as they tend to be more expensive (they have you snared)!

That said, have a great holiday and be aware when driving in the Summer months!

You can check out some of our Driver Training courses at this link…

If you have any questions or queries on any of the above, fill out the quick and easy contact form below and we will call you back!

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By Kevin McDermott – Fleet Safety Services Manager

KMc