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drive safe

Motorists urged to slow down and take extra care ahead of long bank holiday weekend

The RSA and An Garda Síochána are appealing for all road users to act responsibly and not to drink and drive.

ROAD USERS ARE being urged to take extra care ahead of the bank holiday weekend. 

Whether people are travelling to the St Patrick’s Day festivities, or simply making a journey over the weekend, the AA is warning it’s important to remember that lots of traffic restrictions will be in place country-wide, especially today. 

For the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of parades will take place in towns and villages across the country.

“If you are travelling today, then we would advise that you allow extra time for your journey, whether it is by car or public transport. Be mindful of pedestrians and cyclists out and about, slow down and adapt your driving to whatever weather conditions are at play,” AA Ireland spokesperson Anna Cullen said. 

“With all the parades, sports events and family-friendly activities taking place there’ll be lots of diversions and changes to public transport, so be sure to plan your journey in advance. If you’re planning to drive then take note of any road closures that may be in place, and obey them.”

Cullen also urged road users to remember that not all parades and celebrations will take place today, with some planned to take place over the weekend. 

Driving dangers

The RSA and An Garda Síochána are also appealing for all road users to act responsibly and not to drink and drive over the extended St Patrick’s Day Bank Holiday weekend.

Garda Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing, said: “I would appeal to those of you who are socialising and consuming alcohol to leave your car at home or designate a driver and remember you may still be over the limit the morning after.

“We must change the current trends we are seeing in road fatalities in 2022. Too many families have already lost loved ones this year. An Garda Síochána are pleading with people to stop taking risks, make the right decisions and never ever drive while under the influence of alcohol.”

Echoing the words of Assistant Commissioner Hilman, AA Ireland also warns that the effects of alcohol on driving can linger on long after a night out. 

“Plan your night out carefully, and think about the next day too. We often forget that alcohol can continue to impact on your reaction times, driving ability and concentration into the following day, depending on how much you have consumed,” Cullen said. 

“People may also suffer from fatigue after a long journey. So, slow down, stop and take breaks where necessary. As well as this, make sure to wear your seat belt and reduce your speed. Stay safe on the road.”

Fuel consumption

For motorists who are making longer trips this weekend, lots of things can be done to reduce fuel consumption.

“One tip we usually give motorists is to accelerate gently. Use your right foot lightly to move off and get up to speed. Go easy on the brakes. Remember that sharp braking wastes energy – instead, ease off the accelerator and move down the gears in plenty of time to smoothly come to a stop,” Cullen said. 

Another tip by AA Ireland is to reduce your speed – a vehicle travelling at 120km/h uses about 20% more fuel than the same vehicle at 100km/h.

When travelling, maintain a steady speed, the AA said. Constant changes in speed use more fuel and are a waste of energy and money. Consider using the cruise control function if the car has it, it added.

“Lighten the load in your vehicle by removing unnecessary items, the heavier your car the more fuel used. Be a smart shifter too because driving fast in a low gear makes the engine work harder and uses more fuel. Most modern cars have a dashboard indicator to tell the most efficient time to change gear – use it,” Cullen said. 

“Using the car’s air conditioning system can increase its fuel consumption by as much as 20%. In town or city traffic, open the windows instead. And if the air-con needs to be used, use the ‘re-circulate’ option to save energy,” she said. 

Some more tips from the AA include removing roof racks, roof boxes and cycle racks when they’re not being used, as they increase drag. Finally, walk or cycle for short trips, and use public transport when possible.

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