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Adjusting to driving in your new home

Amy Baker

A survey conducted earlier this year by the World Health Organisation revealed that only 28 countries, covering 7 per cent of the whole world’s population, have firm road safety laws targeting all five identified risk areas in place. These all-important five factors are listed as drinking and driving, speeding, failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat belts and child restraints. 

The survey also highlighted the following points:

Only 59 countries (39% of the world’s population) have an urban speed limit of 50km/h or less
89 countries (66% of world’s population) have implemented a drink driving law
111 countries (69% of world’s population) have laws stating that all occupants of the car must be wearing seatbelts
Even some of the best performing countries in terms of road safety indicated in this survey that enforcement of these laws is inadequate.

Now although there will undoubtedly be rules in Ireland it is important that you take the time to get yourself accustomed to the rules of the road. You see how things differ significantly in the UK – it can be a completely different scenario driving in the Lake District to tackling the inner city streets of London or Manchester so you need to remember that it will be exactly the same in your new home. 
To help you on your way, here are a few tips to help you get used to the roads in Ireland upon arrival.

Research
What’s the first thing that you do when you first learn to drive? That’s right – you read up on the rules of the road. We understand that it’s boring, that you have been driving for years and that you feel confident but a quick skim over the road safety rules of your new country is a necessary precaution. The stats above demonstrate just how few places pay as much attention to road safety as we do here in the UK; you want to make sure that you are prepared, for the sake of yourself and your family.

Observe
The last thing that you should do is touch down in a new country and immediately get behind the wheel. It can be daunting driving in a new city let alone a whole new country – don’t be afraid to take your time. Although not always the perfect example of ‘good drivers’ we advise you to observe the taxi drivers that you have, the bus drivers – those who drive for a living and are used to whatever comes at them. 

Practice
When you first decide to brave getting behind the wheel perhaps don’t head straight for the bright lights of the city centre – gain your confidence on the quieter roads first. If you have the opportunity to practice with an acquaintance that you know who has been driving there for a while, perhaps you can ask them to take you out for a little trial practice and make sure you ask them any questions that you may have about unfamiliar road signs, unusual traffic signals or anything really – it’s best to have an answer and know what to do rather than risk it. 

Fear not – getting used to driving in your new home won’t take long but we urge you to be in no rush. Taking public transport to start with will be a good way of finding your way around and gaining your bearings. That way when the time comes to get behind the wheel you will know where you are going, what to expect and what to look out for. You can never be too careful. 


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