Rules of the Road
CAUTION UPDATING
To Road Traffic Laws as at 1 March 2013

Driving School Ireland,
Phone 071 9162311 or 087 6688797

Section 4

Vehicle safety

There are standards set by law for the condition of your vehicle. You must know these standards and make sure your vehicle complies with the law. This section sets out the basic information you need to know. For further information on the testing of your vehicle please see www.rsa.ie


As a driver, you must make sure that your vehicle is in good working order. You must ensure that the steering, brakes, front and rear lamps, reflectors, rear view mirrors, safety belts, speedometer, tyres, windscreen wipers, horn and silencer are checked regularly.


The RSA advise motorists that it would be useful to have the following items available for use in your vehicle:

  • a first aid kit
  • a fire extinguisher
  • at least 2 high-vis vests or jackets (fluorescent and reflective)
  • 2 red warning triangles
  • a torch

The above are examples of items that might be useful in an emergency. You might choose to carry other items that you feel might be helpful.


REMEMBER
It is a serious offence to drive an unsafe vehicle on a public road.


Motor vehicles must be tested for their roadworthiness. This section sets out the minimum standards required for your vehicle. You should check the following on a regular basis:


Tyres


Tread depth: Do not allow your tyres to wear down too much. Most vehicles on the road must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm over the main treads. For motorcycles and vintage vehicles the minimum tread depth is 1 mm. However, make sure you replace your tyres before they become this worn.


Pressure: Regularly check the pressure of every tyre, including the spare tyre, and pay attention to the recommended pressure levels.


Checking for damage: Regularly examine your tyres for cuts, cracks and bulges, which could cause unexpected 'blow-outs'.


Replacing tyres: For your safety only fit new and e-marked tyres bought from a reputable dealer. Do not mix radial and cross ply tyres on any one axle.


Temporary use (space saver) spare tyres: Use only these tyres to complete a journey or make a journey to a tyre dealer. Do not travel at a speed in excess of the recommended speed stamped on the tyre.


REMEMBER
Use of secondhand tyres can be risky because there is no history of how they have been used.


Lights and reflectors


Motor vehicles (except motorcycles or electric vehicles with a maximum speed of 38km/h) must have the following lights and reflectors.


front car lights


At the front:

  • Two headlights (white or yellow)
  • Two white sidelights
  • Direction indicator lights (amber only)

car lights rear


At the back

  • Two red lights (commonly known as tail lights)
  • Two red brake lights
  • Two red reflectors
  • Number plate lighting
  • Direction indicator lights (amber only)

REMEMBER
Your lights, reflectors, number plate lighting and direction indicators will be effective only if you keep them clean and in good working order.



Remember:

  • You must use fog lights only in dense fog or falling snow. Turn them off in clear weather or you will risk causing glare or dazzling other drivers.
  • You may fit high mounted rear brake lights if you wish, but fitting other optional lighting is controlled by law.

Sections 16, 17 and 20 deal with the required lighting for motorcycles, bicycles and horse drawn vehicles.


Before you change or alter the physical apperance of your vehicle, for example by fitting spot lights, bull bars or ornaments, take care not to increase the risk to road users, in particular the more vunerable ones, for example cyclists and pedestrians.


You must not fit blue or red flashing lights which are solely reserved for Garda., ambulance and other designated service vehicles. See www.transport.ie for details.


You should not make any technical modifications to your vehicle without professional advice as these may have legal and safety implications.


You should also inform your insurance company, as some modifications can invalidate your insurance policy.


REMEMBER
Please note that specific reflective markings must be displayed on HGVs and their trailers. Please see www.rsa.ie for further information.


Windscreen


Type of windscreen: Laminated glass must be used for the windscreens of motor vehicles registered since January 1986. It must also be used when replacing damaged windscreens of older vehicles.


Windscreen wipers: Keep your windscreen wipers and wiper blades in good working condition and keep your windscreen washer liquid topped up.


Clear vision: Keep your windscreen and windows clean and free of clutter to make sure you can see the road and other road users clearly.


Mirrors

Your vehicle must have mirrors fitted so that you always know what is behind (rear-view) and to each side (door or wing mirrors).


On large vehicles the fitment of a front mirror, known as a Cyclops mirror, has the potential to reduce fatalities and serious injuries from collisions between HGVs and cyclists or pedestrians.


HGVs and buses must have Cyclops and wide-angle mirrors to eliminate 'blind spots' and protect pedestrians and cyclists to the front and sides of the vehicles.


Note:


HGVs registered after 2007 are obliged to have these safety enhancing mirrors.


From 1 October 2012, the HGV annual roadworthiness test includes a check for conformance with the new regulations.


Further details are available at www.rsa.ie.


Additional information is also available from vehiclestandards@rsa.ie or alternately at 096-25014


When to use mirrors: You must use your vehicle's mirrors before signalling, when moving off, changing lanes, overtaking, slowing down, stopping, turning, or opening doors.


In addition you should check your mirrors regularly whilst driving to maintain a picture of what is going on behind your vehicle.


Clear vision: As with lights an reflectors, you must keep your mirrors clean, in good condition and correctly positioned to make sure they are effective.


Your vehicle must have mirrors fitted so that you always know what is behind and to each side. Heavy goods vehicles (HGV's) and buses should have 'cyclops' and 'wide angle mirrors' to eliminate blind spots and protect pedestrians and cyclists to the front and sides of the vehicles.


When to use mirrors: You must use your vehicle's mirrors before moving off, changing lanes, overtaking, slowing down, stopping, turning, or opening doors. You should check your mirrors regularly when driving.


Clear vision: As with lights and reflectors, you must keep your mirrors clean, in good condition and correctly positioned to make sure they are effective.


lorry cyclops mirror



Section 4 - Part 2























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