Appeal To Drivers To Hang Back And Relax
Chairman of the County’s Roads & Transportation SPC, Ballinrobe based Fianna Fail Cllr Damian Ryan raised the issue of dangerous overtaking taking place around the County at the SPC meeting yesterday which he feels is contributing to the loss of lives on our roads.
Cllr Damian Ryan said “ We witness it everyday of the week, people taking unneccessary risks by overtaking on solid white lines, driving too close to the car in front of them. We’re urging all drivers to avoid overtaking on country roads unless absolutely essential and 100 per cent safe to do so. This doesn’t include if you’re feeling impatient because someone in front is driving a few mph slower than you want to.
“In those situations, cool-headed and responsible drivers hang back and relax. We’re also urging drivers to stay well within speed limits, and slow right down for villages, bends, brows and bad weather, to protect themselves and others, check your mirrors regularly.”
Drivers who fail to overtake properly could be slapped with a fine and up to 5 penalty points on their licence. Under the rules of the road, motorists are advised of a number of situations where they should not overtake another vehicle. Those who fail to stick to guidelines could be charged with careless driving for putting other road users at risk.
Supported by the Road Traffic Act, the rules of the road states that vehicles should not cross a solid white line to overtake, including double white lines where there is a solid line nearest to you. Drivers are prohibited from passing into bus or cycle lanes to overtake, or to try to get ahead of the vehicle closest to a pedestrian crossing. And of course, motorists should abide by any signage instructing them not to overtake.
If the Gardai spot you trying to overtake in a reckless manner, they could give you a fixed penalty of €120 and five points on your licence. But if they deem the offence to be serious enough, you may be required to appear in court, where the fine could increase significantly and you could be banned from driving.
The rules of the road also gives drivers guidelines on how and when to safely overtake. Motorists have a responsibility to make sure the road ahead is sufficiently clear, they check mirrors and blindspots, and that they move quickly back into the flow of traffic once they have overtaken without cutting in. Road users are also advised to give way to oncoming vehicles before passing parked cars, and should only ever overtake on the left if the vehicle in front is indicating to turn right.
Noel Gibbons, Mayo Road Safety Officer, said: "Overtaking can be hazardous as it could potentially put you in the path of other vehicles. Asking yourself if it's legal?, if it's safe and of course if you really need to overtake at that moment, should be the first questions you ask yourself. The rules of the road states where overtaking is most likely to see you endanger yourself or endangering the lives of others if irresponsible overtakes are carried out. Double white lines are there to separate the traffic, but you should always be aware of the possibility of someone not obeying them and putting you at risk – remember they are not walls, just paint. Crossing them can be necessary in some situations for example if you need to access a property. The rules of the road sates- All traffic must keep to the left of the line (except in an emergency or for access). Whenever you think about overtaking you should consider the primary hazard, secondary hazards and any possible dynamic hazards before and during the manoeuvre."
How should you overtake?
Here are the rules when it comes to overtaking on Irish roads;
-Make sure the road ahead is clear so you have enough distance to allow you to overtake and get back to your own side of the road without forcing any other road user to move to avoid you.
-Never directly follow another overtaking vehicle.
-Give way to faster traffic already overtaking from behind.
-Before overtaking check that the way is clear, check in your mirror and blind spots to ensure another vehicle is not approaching from behind. Give your signal in good time, move out when it is safe to do so, accelerate and overtake with the minimum of delay.
-Take extra care when overtaking a vehicle displaying a 'LONG VEHICLE' sign. This means that the vehicle is at least 13 metres long and you will need extra road length to pass it and safely return to the left-hand side of the road.
-You must not break the speed limit, even when overtaking.
- What to do when somebody overtakes you Continue at the same pace.