10 things every Irish motorist will know
From the one fingered driving wave on country roads to “I wouldn’t start from here” as directions, driving in Ireland is like nowhere else on the planet.
The madness of the M50, bus strikes, trying to get an appointment for the NCT, rising insurance premiums … motoring Irish-style is a minefield but it can also brighten up your day.
Here are 10 things every Irish motorist will know:
1. Gardaí – On Speed
Some of the best puns and have to be seen to be believed tweets can be found on the Twitter account of An Garda Síochana. The official account for information on traffic and major events across the country, it has also become a viral sensation and go-to site for tweets like “Wickow Gardaí steak out to prevent farm related thefts. Warm out but they were friesian”.
2. “Ah you’re miles away”
Ask for directions in Ireland and you’re guaranteed that the answer will involve stating the obvious, a contradiction of all the signposts and pubs will inevitably be used as a point of reference. Standard responses will include “I wouldn’t start from here”; “if you see the pub you’ve gone wrong” and “Back the road and over the way”.
3. Roadsigns – In Reverse
Driving on unfamiliar rural roads? Irish drivers will always trust their suspicions that the road signs might have been turned in the opposite direction – if you think they have, they probably have. A much-loved tradition from jokers around the country, Stop signs will have been customised to ‘Ah Stop’ and Draw Bridge signs will inevitably have beautifully drawn bridges painted on to the sign.
4. Spectacular Speed Limits
Seeing a 100km per hour speed sign out of the blue on a narrow country road, when you can barely manage 40km is a regular sight for Irish motorists. A new generic ‘Rural Speed Limit’ sign has now been introduced and this uniquely Irish phenomenon is now being phased out.
5. Make-Up and Shaving
Dashboard dining by breakfasting at the wheel is the norm for many drivers in Ireland, as is bringing their shaving gear in the car or applying a full face of make-up. The AA has found that 1 in 3 people in Ireland regularly encounter this uniquely Irish form of personal grooming on the move.
6. Irish Country Roadside Etiquette
While completely baffling for visitors, sticking up one index finger as a greeting / ‘driving wave’ is a much-respected Irish motoring tradition and must always be returned. Switching off the engine and totally surrendering when a flock of sheep appear or being stuck behind a herd of cows or a tractor is another long-held form of country roadside etiquette that will be recognised by Irish motorists.
7. Rainy Day
A rainy day in Ireland = total carpark.
8. Hazard Lights = Park Anywhere
What is it with hazard lights and illegal parking in Ireland? “My hazard lights are on so I can park anywhere” is another long-held tradition for many motorists. Flicking them on and using them as a ‘park anywhere button’ is followed by mounting the kerb and nipping in to grab a pint of milk or doing the full weekly shop while the children and dog sit patiently in the car.
9. Frantic Coin Search At Toll Plazas
Heart-stopping panic when entering the ‘basket only’section of the Toll Plaza with three cars behind you and realising you have no coins, is again a well-known fear for all Irish motorists. Scrambling on the floor for
dropped coins to a cacophony of horns and red faces, doesn’t need to have the fear factor any more. There’s a new Easytrip toll tag that works on all toll plazas. Beat the road rage and sign up for Easytrip toll tags here.
10. Fear of Bus Lanes
Another uniquely Irish phenomenon is the complete and utter aversion to driving in bus lanes. With bumper-to-bumper traffic in the two lanes to the right, you’re guaranteed that drivers will still have ‘the fear’ and the non 24-hour Bus Lanes will still be empty, even after 7pm, with drivers still afraid to go it alone.
Eastrip supply toll tags that work on all toll plazas, as well as car parks around the country. Sign up for Easytrip toll tags here.