Safety advice for motorists

Before you drive

Before you drive your car, there are certain documents that you must have in place. You should also check that the car is safe to drive (roadworthy). Keep up to date with the general maintenance of your car. When you are driving a car, you can help to ensure you travel safely by being aware of the various dangers on the road, the way you drive and your obligations as a road user.

Before you drive you must ensure:

Check all lights and indicators and make sure your windscreen is clean and free from anything that might obstruct your vision. Keep your windscreen washer fluid topped up. Check your horn is working. Check that the brakes are working. You need to check regularly; the brake and engine oil levels, the tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres. It’s always a good idea to get your car serviced when it’s due one. Check your car’s handbook for the next service date.

When driving

You need to drive responsibly and follow the rules of the road when driving.

When driving you should:

  • Drive at a speed appropriate to the road and weather conditions, the volume of traffic and the likelihood of hazards. Speed limits are the maximum speed you can drive at on a stretch of road in good conditions.
  • Never drink or take drugs and drive. Alcohol and drugs affect your judgement, vision, co-ordination and reaction time.
  • Wear your seatbelt. By law, every passenger in the car must also wear a seatbelt.
  • Take a break from driving if you feel tired – a nap of 15 to 20 minutes can help.
  • Never use a hand-held mobile phone. Any distraction when driving can be dangerous.
  • Use your dipped headlights to see and be seen if visibility is poor.
  • Only use fog lights when there is fog or falling snow. Switch them off when conditions improve.

Further information

You can find out more in our documents on safety advice for motorcyclists, seat belts and the law and the national speed limits in Ireland. You can also find road safety information for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists on the website of An Garda Síochána. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is another resource.
Page edited: 16 November 2021