Driving in Ireland – My Impressions

Guest post

There are three kinds of roads in Ireland: “R” roads, “N” roads and “M” roads.

“R” roads are ‘Regional’ and the speed limit is 80km/h – although most are so bumpy, narrow and windy, you’d be hard pressed to reach 70km/h! These would be the equivalent of our rural back roads (but narrower and with no verge)

“N” roads are ‘National’ roads and have a 100km/h limit – these would be more like our State Highways. Again no verge and generally no passing lanes. However they are reasonably wide and have a yellow striped marking about three quarters of a lane wide on the left (both sides) where slower vehicles are expected to pull over into to let traffic past. And with few exceptions, this did occur.

“M” roads are motorways with a limit of 120km/h. And with absolutely no apologies to NZTA, these bear absolutely no resemblance to our so-called ‘motorways’. The on-ramps and off-ramps are usually kilometres apart (which is one of the reasons why the higher speed is viable), not 1.5 km apart or less. The closest we would have (I think) would be the Albany Expressway or Waikato Expressway, where, in the latter case, I think there has been talk of having higher limits…

On all roads, the limit is regularly posted and there are also many, many speed camera warning signs. Although the fitted GPS in the car sounded a wee warning when I was going over, I confess to have been driving a few (maybe 10?) kilometres over the limit on occasion. I never saw a camera, and hope I didn’t cop a ticket, but I guess I will know in the next few weeks. All in all, the traffic was a joy to drive in, heavy or not, as people seem to be less aggressive and more considerate. Although they tended not to use indicators very often…

And an observation: I suspect the number of tractors (big John Deeres, Fords and Fergs) driving on the country roads is close to 10% of total vehicles, outside the cities!!

Some of the R roads were pretty hairy – just wide enough for the car plus a bit, high hedgerows or stone fences right up to the edge of the road and poor visibility for oncoming traffic. But we made it with no dings or scratches, I’m pleased to say.

Over the distance I drove in Ireland, I think the worst driver behaviour I saw was a woman going through a roundabout a bit quick. Speed limits were mostly observed and traffic kept left.

Contrast this with the 50km drive home from Auckland Airport where I experienced tailgating, speeding (past me), slow traffic in the “fast lane” not pulling over, no headlights on (at night: several cars and one large truck) and an idiot diving from the “fast lane” across three lanes in front of a truck to get to an off-ramp.

I despair of NZ drivers!!

So how did that focus on speed go for the Police last year?

Last year the Police repeatedly announced that they were going to have zero tolerance on speed…that they were going to have a low tolerance to speed.

So how did that work out for them? After all, in the years preceding, the Police claimed it was their focus on speed that enabled lower road tolls.

Not so well, it turns out.

The provisional road toll for all of last year is 321, the highest number since 2010.

“It’s incredibly sad and disappointing to have lost so many lives on our roads in 2015,” Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss said when it was announced.

“The road toll is not just a number – every figure represents not only the life lost but also grieving families, friends and communities.” ? Read more »


Cry Babies of the Week

CRY BAIES: Tukituki Lhome-wrecker Anna Lorck with students Emily Pattullo (left), Kyle Brittin, Chris Hicks, Felix Ellis Jones and Brittney Lorck

CRY BABIES: Tukituki home-wrecker Anna Lorck with students Emily Pattullo (left), Kyle Brittin, Chris Hicks, Felix Ellis Jones and Brittney Lorck

This week’s cry babies are being promoted and enabled by Tukituki home-wrecker Anna Lorck, and one is her own daughter.

For young people trying to get their driver’s licence it appears the cost is standing between them and a little independence.

School student Emily Pattullo is 16 years old and still on her learner’s licence. She has attempted the test to get her restricted licence twice.

Twice she has failed.

“It has cost me $600 so far and I haven’t passed,” she said. ?? Read more »

Don?t use your phone, but you?re allowed to use your car nav system

Look, I get it – ?texting? while driving isn?t smart.?Just like shaving or putting on make-up. ?

Drivers using mobile phones and other devices while behind the wheel will be the target of a national police operation from Monday.

The operation will target driver distraction – including putting on make-up, shaving and reading.

The deadly habit contributed to 12 per cent of crashes in New Zealand last year, despite it being made illegal in 2009, police said in a statement.

National Manager Road Policing Superintendent Steve Greally said officers were noticing a rise in the use of phones, tablets and iPods.

“Given that the law has been in place for more than five years now, there really is no excuse for drivers to keep offending,” he said.

Ministry of Transport data showed that last year ‘diverted attention’ contributed to 1053 crashes – or 12 per cent of all crashes.

In those, 22 people were killed and 191 were serious injured.

Read more »

Campaign to gather sympathy for Lycra-clad road maggots backfires

The truck has to cross the centre line putting every one in danger to avoid the road maggot.

The truck has to cross the centre line putting everyone in danger to avoid the road maggot.

Just who was it that had the brain injury to suggest that if a car and a bicycle are closer than 1.5m apart, it?s the car driver?s fault? ?

How can you even determine that?

And where is the opposite law, where a bicycle isn?t allowed more than 1m from the left of the road, and definitely not allowed to ride side-by-side endangering themselves and others as cars have to pass.

Another media generated beat-up, and another one backfires.

Covert footage of motorists passing dangerously close to cyclists in Marlborough has highlighted the severity of the problem to police, a highway patrol officer says.

Members of the Marlborough Bunch Riders?cycling group have been capturing some close calls with trucks and cars for the past six months using rear bike lights that double as cameras. ?? Read more »


More populist tinkering by a third term National

The government is considering raising the speed limit on a few short pieces of road.

Speed limits of 110km/h could be on the way.

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss has revealed the Government is still considering increasing the speed limit on certain roads.

“There are potentially some roads – very high-class, Roads of National Significance – where that is possible,” Mr Foss said today.

“We are doing a bit of work in that space at the moment, no final decisions yet.

“Potentially the Transmission Gully, maybe the new Tauranga Motorway, the new road north of Auckland, the Waikato Expressway – that kind of class of road is potentially able to cope with [an increased speed limit].”

Mr Foss made his comments after being asked about an Automobile Association report that found a majority of its members wanted an increase in the open road speed limit on top-rated motorways to 110km/h.

Read more »

Taking the keys off idiot tourists is the first step

Police wouldn?t let someone wander around with a firearm, so why is driving a half-ton vehicle less dangerous?

Police seized the car keys of a tourist driver who repeatedly drove on the wrong side of the road, ignored a stop sign and almost caused several accidents.

Dunedin police officers rushed to Larnach Castle, near Dunedin, this afternoon after receiving “multiple calls” about the driver’s erratic behaviour behind the wheel.

The tourist had been involved in a series of near misses with fellow motorists on the 10km stretch of windy road leading to the castle.

Acting senior sergeant James Ure said vehicles travelling along the Otago Peninsula were forced to take evasive action to avoid head-on collisions when the car crossed the centre line.

“We had multiple calls of a rental car driving on the incorrect side of the road and straddling the centre of the road,” Ure said.

“There’s been a number of times he’s been driving on the wrong side of the road with oncoming traffic.”? Read more »

If Killer Cows weren’t mad before, they will be now


This is either a really stupid idea, or a way of trying to halt the coming cowpocalypse from enraged Killer Cows.

Oh scratch that…its just plain retarded

The farmers were in no doubt ? it was a ?ridiculous? idea and a prime example of health and safety gone mad.

But a local council has suggested that cows be dressed in high-viz reflective jackets with lights strung around their necks to ensure they can be spotted by motorists at night.

The proposal, which would create a herd of ?disco? cattle and light up the local common, was put forward as a means of allowing the animals to graze in safety in poor light. ? Read more »

Out comes the ban hammer

Good grief.

Why is there no longer a single day that goes past without some wowser or whinger calling for the ban of some thing or other.

The last target for the wowsers are smart watches.

Road safety campaigners are calling for a ban on the use of wearable technology, including smartwatches, by drivers.

Smartwatches from high-tech giants Samsung, Sony, Motorola and LG – which can be used for calls, texts and calendar notifications – are for sale in New Zealand. Apple is releasing its Apple Watch here later this year.

Laws banning drivers’ use of phones – with an $80 fine and 20 demerit points – do not cover the use of wearable technology.

Caroline Perry, of road safety charity Brake, said the law should be widened, stating motorists using smart technology on their watches while driving should face the same sanctions.

“A second’s inattention at the wheel can result in tragedy,” she said.

Read more »

Driving merit points: the latest PC “everyone’s a winner” nonsense

I see a newspaper editorial is all in favour of the latest “everyone is ?winner” PC nonsense currently doing the rounds advocating for merit points for good drivers.

Nothing annoys generally well-behaved drivers quite so much as having the traffic rulebook thrown at them for a minor transgression. It offends their notion of fairness and, in the process, erodes their support for the police. The police, for their part, have little option but to issue tickets. Successive governments’ emphasis on lowering the road toll has dictated a low-tolerance approach. It is welcome, therefore, that a way around this unsatisfactory state of affairs may soon surface in the shape of merit points.

The concept will be studied in research about to be initiated by the Transport Agency. It will be part of an analysis of the impact of demerit points since their introduction 22 years ago. The research will ask if they have achieved better driver compliance, whether a merit-based system would be more effective, or whether the two should operate in tandem. Merit points would be gained for the time a motorist has been driving without receiving a ticket. Or they may operate as in Victoria, where tickets can be waived if a driver’s good record is deemed to warrant just a warning. ? Read more »