Accidents on the roads can be avoided if more caution and awareness are exercised by road users. The following information provides tips on safe driving, minimum stopping distances and driving in poor winter conditions.

Driver Safety Tips

Always obey the speed limits – It is acknowledged that the single largest factor contributing to road deaths in Ireland is exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for the conditions. Over 40% of fatal accidents are caused by excessive or inappropriate speed. 

1. It is against the law not to wear a seat belt on all car journeys; ensure they are being worn by both driver and passengers – even on the shortest journeys.

2. Always drive at a speed that you would be able to stop within the distance you can see to be clear

3. It is your responsibility to never drink and drive. Even small amounts of alcohol affect your judgement and ability to drive.

4. Ensure you take adequate breaks when driving long distances, as fatigue is often one of the most preventable causes of accidents on our roads.

5. All vehicle tyres should be at the correct tyre pressure, with a minimum thread depth of 1.6mm over at least 75% of each tyre including the spare.

6. Ensure that your vehicle is serviced regularly so that it is road worthy. Regularly check your vehicles oil, water and fuel levels and for any defects such as faulty lights or worn tyres.

7. Always try to allow sufficient time for your journey. This helps to prevent the increased risks of speeding and overtaking dangerously. Impatience on the roads is a regular cause of road rage and accidents.

8. Always take correct observations and road position correctly in good time before negotiating bends, corners, hazards or stops ahead

9. Expect the Unexpected

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Driving in poor winter conditions

It is never advisable to drive in poor wintry conditions such as ice, snow or flood. If driving cannot be avoided please take the following precautions. 

1. Drive at a reduced speed and keep a safe distance from the car in front. If possible, allow more time for the journey so that there is no time pressure to reach your destination.

2. In addition to regular maintenance, ensure that the radiator system is serviced and that anti-freeze is added if required.

3. Remember to always use your dipped headlights when driving in fog or hazy conditions.

4. Windshield-wiper fluid is replaced with a wintertime mixture.

5. To avoid skidding, look out for potential skid hazards such as wet leaves, shady spots, black ice and frost (particularly on bridges). Black ice is extremely dangerous on very cold nights on wet roads. Reduce speed as soon as you see a potential hazard.

6. When driving through a flooded area, select a lower gear that will keep your engine revs high and your speed low. After having to pass through extremely deep waters, test your brakes to ensure that no damage has occurred.

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Minimum Stopping Distances

The following tables detail the minimum stopping distances in Dry & Wet Conditions. It is worth noting that from 50km/h to 100km/h the total braking distance of your car can increase from 15 metres to 60 metres. When you double the speed of your car you multiply the total braking distance four times.

Dry Conditions

Speed (km/h)Reaction Distance (m)Braking Distance (m)Total Stopping Distance (m)

 30

5.5

5.3

10.8

 50

9.2

14.8

24.0

 60

11.0

21.4

32.4

 80

14.7

38.0

52.7

 100

18.3

59.4

77.7

 120

22.0

85.5

107.5

Wet Conditions

Speed (km/h)Reaction Distance (m)Braking Distance (m)Total Stopping Distance (m)

 30

5.5

9.4

14.9

 50

9.2

26.1

35.2

 60

11.0

37.5

48.5

 80

14.7

66.7

81.4

 100

18.3

104.3

122.6

 120

22.0

150.2

172.2

Source Transport Research Laboratory, UK, 2007, © Road Safety Authority, 2007

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