When in Ireland for a vacation, a road trip is one of the most important activities you have to plan. And for this to be as fun and easy as you would like, you need a good means of transportation. A sure solution to this is to either rent a car or go along with yours.
However, as non-residents of the country, you most likely are not used to the traffic rules and other minor tips that will make driving in the country a smooth and safe one. For this very reason, I have compiled a couple of necessary tips that are sure to make you drive through Ireland like a pro.
Drive On The Left
This is a very important rule to always remember. You have to drive on the left as that is the way to roads are constructed. Now, many people say that it is quite easy to get used to. But, you need to be mindful of the roundabouts and traffic circles as these pose the biggest mistake for tourists.
What helps me remember is repeating to myself that “Right is Wide, Left is Tight”. Also, it helps if you always remember that the driver is always at the centre of the road.
The Smaller The Car, The Better
Unless you are travelling with a large crowd, a smaller car is always better if you are driving in Ireland. Apart from the fact that it is relatively cheaper, it helps you navigate better as you do not need much space to move.
I was once offered a huge SUV as an upgrade by the rental company I use and I am so glad that I didn’t take up the offer. My smaller choice not only saves gas, but it was also much easier for me to get into parking spots.
This is another super important thing that must be checked off before you get on the road. Some credit card companies do have policies that cover the rental insurance so you don’t need to get another at the point of rental. However, you need to be sure about what your insurance covers.
To ensure that you have insurance with the best cover for your rental, you should check out car insurance quotes online and find the best insurance quote from different insurance companies.
It is hard enough to drive on the main road due to the reversed laws, but it gets worse on the country roads. Once you leave Dublin, the roads only get narrower and narrower.
Although, driving on these winding roads can be romantic and a sight to behold, you have to be very careful and pay close attention. Drive slowly especially around the curves and hills where it is difficult to see far ahead.
Sharing The Road
As if narrow roads are not bad enough, you will get even less comfortable on the road when you have to share those narrow motorways with oncoming vehicles. This isn’t so bad in the countryside as you could always pull over on the grass when the road is too narrow for two cars to pass at once. However, the real problem came when driving through the Ring of Dingle and around Kerry.
Driving on narrow cliffs, there is nowhere to pull over. Therefore, one car will have to make the decision to reverse till they either get to a spot where they can both pass through or you can pull over for the other to pass through. The best advice is to just follow the traffic and be extremely patient.
First, you have to know that automatics are quite rare in Ireland. But, if you are not used to driving a manual, then it is highly recommended that you pay that extra buck for the automatic.
It is already difficult driving in Ireland. Imagine having to go through that stress with the added problem of trying to drive a manual. It definitely won’t pan out to be one of the best vacations.
Familiarize Yourself With The Car
If you will be renting, I can’t stress the importance of familiarizing yourself with the car enough. You don’t just get a new car and jump on a road you are not used to. That is a ticking time bomb.
For example, I rented this one car sometime back and didn’t really check through the car to familiarize myself. While on the highway, it started to rain and I almost had an accident while trying to figure out how to get the wipers to work.
Compulsory Car Features
Regardless of where you are driving, there are certain things that you need in your car for a road trip. Your GPS, cruise control, and USB compatibility must be features that must be present.
If you are able to access international data, then you can access GPS on your phone. The cruise control also comes in handy when you are driving on a straight highway.
Depending on the part of the country that you are, you can go miles without seeing a single road sign. And most times, especially around the countrysides, you will hardly see a speed limit.
However, since you are not used to the roads and the fact that they are narrow and not always good, it will be best if you do not speed.
On the southwestern part of the country, however, road signs are in abundance and you will do well to follow them.
This isn’t just budget-friendly, but you will also get the opportunity to see more of the beautiful countryside. And this is the whole point of a road trip in Ireland.
But, in the event that you do have to pass through a toll, you can easily pay them at the nest grocery store you pass through.
The only time that doesn’t work is when you are in Dublin. Then, you will have to pay to your rental company when you get back.
Driving in Ireland can be a bit daunting for a first-timer. But with time, and using the above tips, you will soon be driving through the roads of Ireland like you were born and raised in the country.
Enjoy your trip!