Tips for motorists.
Tips for driving long journeys.
Tips for people who drive a lot.
Tips for road safety.
As part of Original Attic Stairs' fitting or installation service we travel all over Ireland every day. So here we would like to share with you some tips and ideas that may make your journeys a little less stressful, possibly save you a few euro and perhaps more importantly, contribute to road safety.
- PLAN YOUR ROUTE. Before you set off it is always a good idea to have a look at which route you are going to take to get to your destination. We do highly recommend Google Maps for your smart phone to act as a "SAT NAV", it is by far the most accurate mapping system available today (far better than any expensive purpose built sat nav we have used!). But even when you're using these devices, it is still a good idea to know roughly where you are going beforehand.
- HAVE A SECOND DRIVER WHENEVER POSSIBLE. Having a second person in the car who can drive is always a good idea. Make sure they are insured to drive your car before you leave.
- CHECK YOUR TYRES. Before you set off, you should have a quick check of your tyres to make sure there are no bulges on the wall of the tyre and to make sure they are not excessively worn. This could prevent a blow-out and also may insure you will be able to stop the car suddenly without getting into a skid, particularly in poor weather conditions.
- TAKE PLENTY OF BREAKS. In accordance with EU rules on drivers, the road safety authority state that it is mandatory for professional drives to take a 45 minute break for every 4.5 hours driven, we would strongly recommend that this is broken down to at least a 20 minute break for every 2 hours driven, for professional and non-professional drivers alike.
- FILL YOUR TANK. Fill up on fuel at your local filling station, there aren't always filling stations where you might expect them to be, so filling up before you leave is a good idea.
- KEEP YOUR WINDOW WASHER FULL. This sounds simple and obvious but not having liquid in your window washer can be quite dangerous, particularly on a winters morning when the sun is low in the sky and the road is wet. It becomes very difficult to see when your windscreen is dirty and the sun is blinding you.
- EAT BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME. Grabbing food on the road is extremely expensive in Ireland, so you can save yourself a few euro by eating at home before you set off.
- SET UP AN EFLOW (or Similar) ACCOUNT. For people who travel with any great frequency, we would strongly recommend setting up an EFLOW account and getting one of there tags. Not only is it faster and easier than fumbling around looking for change at a toll or forgetting to pay the M50 toll on time, in some cases it can actually save you money. There is a €1(+VAT) monthly service charge but in some cases, such as the M50 where there is a €1 reduction in the cost of the toll itself, it does not take many journeys to pay for the service charge. You can pay monthly or top up your account when you need it. The tolls which are covered by EFLOW tags are as follows: M50 Dublin - M1 Meath & Louth - M3 Dublin & Meath - M4 Dublin Kildare & Westmeath - N6 Galway - M7 Laois - N8 Cork - N25 Waterford - Dublin Tunnel - East Link Bridge Dublin - Limerick Tunnel.
- FAILING THAT MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF CHANGE. You don't want to be one of those people holding up several cars at a toll, because you can't find any change, do you?
- LEAVE YOUR DIPPED LIGHTS ON. In a country like Ireland with short winter days and regular poor weather conditions we should all have our dipped lights left on. If your lights are focused correctly (which they will have to be to pass an NCT test) there is no reason why they cannot be left on constantly, even when you don't think you need them. Getting into this habit will get rid of the possibility of you forgetting to turn them on if conditions worsen while you are on the road.
- WATCH OUT FOR VULNERABLE MOTORISTS. Always keep an eye out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, particularly in poor weather conditions.
- LEAVE YOUR PHONE ALONE. If your phone rings and you do not have an appropriate hands free car kit, you should not even look at it until you have pulled in safely. We are all busy and trying to keep on top of things but there are very few phone call that can't (really) wait, particularly if it could save your or someone else's life!
Thank you for your time and drive safe.
The Original Attic Stairs Team.