Safety chief urges older drivers to get lessons
OLDER drivers have been told to take lessons to bring them up to speed when using roundabouts and motorways.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said yesterday that motorists who were unfamiliar or nervous about driving on high-speed roads should book a couple of driving lessons.
Safety bosses have launched a guide to driving on motorways after it emerged last year that driving in the wrong direction was a daily occurrence.
Up to 20 such incidents a month were taking place on a stretch of new motorway in Co Limerick, with gardai revealing that the most dangerous drivers on motorways were middle-aged and older drivers.
Some 2.5 million people currently hold driving licences, but many have never received formal training.
But Ireland's road network now includes 5,515 kilometres of national roads, of which almost 1,200 kilometres are motorways with up to four lanes in each direction and maximum speeds of 120kmh.
There has been an increase in incidents involving motorists driving the wrong way around roundabouts, against the flow of traffic on motorways and incorrectly using lanes, intersections and hard shoulders, RSA chief executive Noel Brett said.
"This changing road environment may pose challenges for some drivers who have no previous experience of driving on a motorway, using roundabouts or who may be put off by the high-speed and multiple lane nature of these routes," he said.
"It is very important that people understand the rules of the road when driving on motorways, or using roundabouts. To address this, the RSA launched a major road safety awareness campaign last year to inform drivers on how to drive safely on a motorway, and on the correct use of roundabouts.
However, another practical step that drivers could take is to take some lessons with a registered driving instructor.
"A few lessons will give drivers the skills needed to feel confident when driving on a motorway or roundabout. The instructor will explain the rules, give some practice sessions and equip drivers to use motorways and roundabouts with confidence. It's money well spent, and what better gift than the gift of some special lessons to make someone a safer driver?"
Drivers have been urged never to stop on a motorway, except in an emergency. It is both dangerous and an offence to stop on a high-speed road, while pedestrians have also been warned never to walk on a motorway. The guide is available from www.rsa.ie