What not to do
The main factors that can affect your driving are:
- drugs (prescription and non-prescription),
- tiredness and fatigue,
- road rage or other forms of aggression.
Individually or together, these factors will:
- affect your judgment,
- slow your ability to react to and avoid hazards,
- cause you to lose concentration, and
- make you a less safe and considerate driver.
Alcohol is a major factor in crashes that lead to death and injury.
Even small amounts of alcohol affect your judgement and ability to drive.
The best advice is never ever drink and drive. Could you live with the shame ?
It is a criminal offence to drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle if you have more than:
- 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood,
- 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine, or
- 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.
There is no reliable way to tell how much you can drink before you exceed the legal limit.
By law, drivers may be required to give a sample of breath in a Garda station. Garda. are allowed to make arrangements to take a blood or urine sample and have it analysed to check the level of alcohol. The results of these tests can be used as evidence when the driver's case goes to court.
Penalties for drink driving
If you are convicted of drink driving, you will be banned from driving. The minimum period of your ban depends on your alcohol level. Other possible penalties include large fines and a prison sentence.
A conviction for drink driving will impact on your life in many ways. On conviction, your name may be published in a newspaper. You must advise your insurance company immediately and it will have an impact on the future cost of your insurance. It is likely you will have to tell your family, your friends and employer as you will be banned from driving.
It is illegal to drive while under the influence of certain drugs. If a Garda suspects you of doing this, they may arrest you. You will then have to give a blood or urine sample to be tested for the presence of any drugs (prescription and non-prescription). If they are present, you may be convicted of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant.
Driver tiredness and fatigue
You should not drive while tired or fatigued. Drivers who are suffering from a lack of sleep are a danger to themselves and other road users.
If you are tired and fighting sleep, you are likely to experience Ōmicro sleepsÕ. These episodes can last up to 10 seconds and can be experienced even when your eyes are open
During a micro-sleep of even four seconds, your car can travel 110 metres (more than the length of a football pitch) without you being in control of your vehicle.
In the past, driving when tired has resulted in the driver falling asleep, losing control of the vehicle, and causing serious injuries and fatalities.
Driving while tired or fatigued is not illegal. However, if you lose control of your vehicle and cause a crash you will be prosecuted.
Advice for sleepy drivers:
- Never drive if you are fighting sleep,
- Stop and take a nap for 15 minutes (set the alarm on your mobile phone),
- To really make the most of your break, take a caffeine drink before the nap (150 mg of caffeine, for example, 2 cups of coffee),
- After the nap, get some fresh air and stretch your legs,
By following all of the above advice you should be able to drive for another hour or more.
- You must be in control of your vehicle at all times.
- You must be able to stop your vehicle safely at all times.
If you are suffering from a serious lack of sleep the only cure is sleep.
Road rage and aggressive driving
If you display road rage as a driver, it means you have uncontrolled anger that results in intimidation or violence against another driver.
Aggressive driving is inconsiderate, stupid driving. It can involve speeding, tailgating (driving too close behind another vehicle), failing to use an indicator for lane changes, recklessly weaving in and out of traffic and over-use of a horn or flashing headlights.
If another driver is attempting to provoke you, donÕt react. DonÕt be tempted to speed up, brake or swerve suddenly. This could cause a crash or make other drivers think you are confronting them. Instead, stay calm and remain focused on your driving to complete your journey safely. Always remember that safety is your number one concern.
Report all incidents to your local Garda station or contact Traffic Watch on: Lo-Call 1890 205 805.