Journeys should only be taken in line with current Government travel guidelines.
Despite popular opinion, summertime is the most dangerous time of the year on our roads. In the summer, when there are no obvious dangers, and the weather is fine and days brighter, we relax our guard.
Unfortunately, there is a spike in pedestrian, cyclist and motorcyclist casualties over the summer. The fine weather brings more people out and about. As drivers, we need to be on the lookout for them. Slow down and expect the unexpected.
All road users must also be aware of the dangers of alcohol during the summer months too - never ever drink and drive, and always be aware of the dangers the next morning. Alcohol is a factor in 38% of fatal crashes.
At this time of year, there will also be an increase in the number of agricultural vehicles using the road.
If stuck behind a tractor, be patient and don’t be tempted into any foolish or rash overtaking as the tractor might turn suddenly into a hidden entrance up ahead. Always be on the look-out for farm machinery leaving fields and farm yards.
Farmers need to be safety conscious too. If the traffic is building up behind, keep left where safe to allow others pass safely. Drivers of agricultural vehicles are also reminded to be mindful of the following:
Wash down wheels regularly to avoid carrying mud and stones onto the public road.
Look out for low bridges, overhanging trees, overhead cables and uneven road surfaces which could cause the load to shift and possibly overturn.
Be particularly careful when transporting material such as silage, slurry, sand and gravel and ensure that the load is covered with the appropriate covering such as tarpaulin or netting so that the load does not spill or blow onto the road or onto following traffic posing a road safety risk.
The driving mirrors must always provide an adequate view of the road behind and all agricultural vehicles must have proper working brakes on both tractor and trailer units. All agricultural vehicles must be fitted with working lights, reflectors and indicators.
Not to load/overload trailers so as to cause them to be unstable on the road.
Do not carry a passenger unless the tractor is equipped to carry one.
Large farming vehicles should consider using an escort vehicle to warn other road users and ensure that tractors are driven at an appropriate speed for the road conditions.
Motorists towing a caravan or driving a motorhome need to have adequate unobstructed vision in both car door / wing mirrors. Fit extension mirrors if necessary. Reversing a caravan is difficult. Practise reversing, but make sure it’s done in a safe location and have someone to guide you.
It’s essential that your motorhome or caravan is roadworthy. If planning to use a motorhome, check that it has a valid CVRT certificate.
Children can be carried in rear seats in a motorhome provided they are using the proper child restraint that is suitable for their height and weight.
Passengers can sit in the back of a motorhome provided they are in a seat which is designed to be used while the vehicle is moving.
Ensure the category of licence you hold is appropriate and valid for the size and weight of the motorhome you plan to drive – The RSA has produced a handy booklet
and a series of short videos
which provide lots of useful information on towing trailers legally and safely. Visit www.rsa.ie
for more details.
Both a caravan and a trailer will affect how your car performs and how well you can control it. In particular, towing a caravan increases the amount of fuel your car uses and decreases its ability to accelerate and brake.
IS YOUR VEHICLE SUMMER-READY?
You should ensure your vehicle is maintained in a roadworthy condition with a full service being undertaken every 10,000 – 15,000 kilometres. There are also some things you can do yourself:
Lights - Make sure all your indicators and headlamps are clean and working.
Liquids - Make sure the water reservoir is up to the maximum mark. You may also need to top up your coolant and screen wash.
Oil - Check your dipstick and top up the oil if necessary. Look for signs of leakages on the ground under the car.
Electrics - Check your dashboard before and after starting the engine. Listen for a weak battery and replace if necessary.
Windscreen wipers - you should clean them regularly and replace them every 12 months.
Tyres - Check your tyre treads and pressure, including the spare. The minimum legal limit is 1.6mm.
Safety Assist - Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual and find out if it has any safety assist technology e.g. ABS.
Be Prepared - Consider carrying the following: a first aid kit, at least 1 high-viz vest or jacket (fluorescent and reflective), at least 1 red warning triangle and a torch.
Further information on being prepared for emergencies when taking to the road, including guidance on vehicle maintenance and repair, and vehicle safety checks can be found on the RSA website.