Driving Tips: Ireland
Taking to the roads offers a glorious way to enjoy the Irish countryside. These ten tips will set your course for a safe and enjoyable road trip.
Understand the Lingo
Depending on where drivers are from, they may not be familiar with words commonly used when motoring in Ireland: boot (trunk), bonnet (hood), windscreen (windshield), petrol (gas), dual carriageway (divided highway), overtaking (passing), traffic lay-by (roadside pull-off), roundabout (traffic circle), acute bend (sharp turn), city centre (downtown), car park (parking area) and car hire (car rental).
Manual or Automatic Transmission?
While manual/stick-shift transmission is most common, automatic transmission vehicles are available and can make driving easier for those not familiar with Irish roads. At Irish Car Rentals choose from manual or automatic when selecting your vehicle.
Know Your Vehicle
Before leaving the car hire lot, drivers should familiarize themselves with the features of their vehicle -- especially the windscreen wipers, lights, heating/cooling, shifting the vehicle into reverse, and boot/bonnet release.
Fill the Tank
Most petrol stations provide self-serve pumps and fuel is measured in liters; stations are conveniently located throughout the island and usually include a shop with food, drink, and toilets.
Dual carriageways connect many of Ireland’s major towns and cities and allow drivers to travel at speeds up to 120kph where allowed.
Explore Country Roads
Many of Ireland’s minor roads can be narrow, winding, and lined with stone walls, hedgerows, or soft shoulders, so extra care and slower speeds should be taken on these routes.
Sharing Rural Roads
In farming communities, drivers must remain alert for animals, such as cows and sheep, and slow-moving farm equipment that may appear on or near the road.
Many villages use Pay and Display parking in which parking fees are paid at an automated kiosk and a printed ticket is displayed in the car window.
Signal to Slow Down
Moving one’s arm in an up and down motion (as if patting an invisible table) is the sign to slow down and may be used by road crews, pedestrians, and even drivers with faulty brake lights.
Irish Language on Road Signs
In Gaeltacht/Irish speaking areas, road signs are often only in Irish; the most important words to know include: géill slí (yield right of way), stad (Stop), téigh (Go), go mall (slow).
Keep Safe on Wet Roads
Ireland’s wet weather can leave roads slippery; this is especially true on the rare occasions when temperatures dip below freezing and roads become coated in deadly “black ice.”