A [long] while ago I gave a series of tips for those new to Irish roads.
As the holiday season is fast approaching I thought it might be an idea to brush up on some of the more common techniques used on Irish motorways. I hope this is helpful to anyone wishing to visit our sunny[?] isle, though it should also help learner drivers.
Now I hasten to add that none of these techniques will appear in the handbooks, mainly because those handbooks were generally written back in the days before motorways were invented. These tips are all garnered by myself during my extensive travels and my extensive research and experience
Slip roads are a contentious subject, mainly because of a complete lack of understanding as to their purpose. When entering a motorway you will be presented with one of these. The trick is to stop dead as soon as you realise you are on a slip road. This is just a precaution in case you decide to reverse and go a different route.
Once you have entered the slip road you then proceed at 20mph [or 30kph depending on which is slower]. About half way along the slip road you come to a complete halt in the sure knowledge that all traffic on the motorway will come to a standstill to allow you to safely enter.
If for some unfathomable reason traffic refuses to stop for you, then it is perfectly acceptable to accelerate up to 20mph again and just pull out into the nearest lane. The flashing of lights and honking of horns is a quaint Irish custom of congratulating you on your excellent driving skills and welcoming you to the motorway so feel proud of yourself!
Irish motorways all have one factor in common which confuses a lot of people – they only have one lane. Now it may appear at first sight that they have two or even three lanes but this is an historical anomaly. The fact is that all cars drive in the outside lane, leaving the inner lane[s] for the occasional lorry and drivers who don’t really know about motorways.
So having entered the motorway your next objective is to enter the outside lane as quickly as possible. Don’t worry if there are no gaps in the traffic as a quick flick of your indicators will ensure that a gap will somehow miraculously appear for you to fill. Generally Irish motorists will drive at speed with about a car’s length between then so it should be no problem filling that little gap.
Once you have reached the outer lane you can relax. You then pick a speed that you feel comfortable with and stick with that. Again, hooting of horns and flashing of headlights are just a sign of approval at your chosen speed.
As with chain saws and birth control, accidents can happen even on motorways. This is your opportunity for fame and notoriety on your social medium of choice. Upon arriving at the accident scene it is quite acceptable to stop and get some photographs of the scene for Farcebook or Instagram, or if you are really lucky, to make a video which will become a YouTube sensation. If some official is waving at you, just wave back. We’re a friendly lot, us Irish.
Leaving the motorway:
This is simplicity itself. You are driving along happily on the outside land and you’ll see a huge sign announcing that you are approaching your exit. Don’t worry about that as the exit is still some distance away [maybe a whole kilometre]. You can safely ignore that.
A bit further on you’ll see another sign and shortly after that a series of rectangular signs with three, two and one diagonal stripes. This is your cue. Immediately pull from the outside lane to the exit ramp. Again a quick flick of the indicator will give you right of way, but that is optional.
So there you have it. You are now indistinguishable from all the experienced motorway users.