Safety advice when motoring

Information

Taking some basic precautions can help you avoid becoming a victim of crime while driving.

Safety while driving

  • Always lock your doors and keep your windows closed as much as possible
  • Make sure your handbag and any valuables are kept out of sight
  • Carry all luggage or shopping in the boot and leave the back seat empty
  • Never leave jackets or coats hanging in the back seat as these can be stolen while your car is stopped in traffic
  • Use your horn if someone approaches your windows or a car seems to be trying to make you stop
  • Study your route in advance if you are driving through unfamiliar territory. You should carry an adequate map and avoid having to ask for directions. On longer journeys, tell someone your route and when you expect to reach your destination.
  • If you think you are being followed, drive into the car park of the nearest Garda station, or failing that, to a busy public place, for example, a garage forecourt
  • When stopped in traffic, make sure you have enough space to pull out from behind the car in front
  • Never give lifts to strangers

Safety while parking

You should choose a well-lit spot to park in. If you are parking in daylight but returning much later, you should think about what the space will look like in darkness. Where possible, you should reverse into a parking space to enable you to drive out. When returning to your car, you should have your keys in your hand to avoid having to search through a bag or coat.

Safety at garages

If you are parking in a garage, you should take the same precautions against personal attack as you would parking anywhere else.

Never leave car doors unlocked while paying for fuel and do not leave valuables in plain sight in the car while it is inside the garage.

Avoiding breakdowns

You should keep your car in good working order. You should:

  • Check the oil, battery and the tyre pressures regularly
  • Avoid letting the fuel tank run close to empty
  • Ensure that your spare wheel is in good condition
  • Think about carrying an automatic latex puncture repair aerosol, which will to get you to the nearest garage
  • Carry a set of jump leads, some basic tools and a torch
  • Carry a mobile phone

If your car breaks down

  • If possible, stop your car in a well-lit spot
  • If you have to stop on the motorway hard shoulder, leave the car and remain out of the vehicle with the passenger door open. Statistics have shown that many accidents that occur on motorways involve vehicles parked on the hard shoulder. Lock all other doors so you can secure yourself inside the vehicle quickly if you are threatened. If you are on a secondary or minor road, remain in the car with all doors locked.
  • Carry a personal alarm, and use your horn if you feel you are in danger
  • If your car breaks down in a remote place and you are alone, never hitch a lift.

If you think you've seen an accident

If you see an accident or incident or if someone tries to flag you down, ask yourself whether it is genuine and whether you could help. It is often safer to report what you have seen to the police over the phone.

Contact information for every Garda station in Ireland is located at the front of all public telephone directories.

Page edited: 31 March 2014