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Motor Vehicles

Mayo County Council is dedicated to influencing  people's attitudes towards road safety.

Mayo County Council aims to do this by discussing important road safety issues in an informed environment.

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

Motorway Driving


  • The maximum speed on Irish motorways is 120kph.
  • Pedestrians, holders of provisional licences, pedal cycles, motorcycles of less than 50cc., invalid carriages, agricultural vehicles, animals or any vehicles incapable of a speed of at least 50Km/h must NOT use the motorway.
  • Parking, reversing and turning on any part of the motorway is prohibited.
  • Driving on or across any part of the motorway which is not a carriageway is prohibited.
  • On a three lane motorway, the left-hand lane (lane 1) is known as the NEARSIDE lane.
  • The middle lane is also known as the Centre lane.
  • The right-hand lane (lane 3) as the OFFSIDE lane.
  • Hard shoulders are for emergencies only.
  • Motorway telephones are for emergencies only and no other calls can be made from them.
  • Picking up or dropping off passengers on any part of the motorway is prohibited.
  • Before carrying out any manoeuvre, remember the sequence…..MIRRORS – SIGNAL – MANOEUVRE.

Joining a motorway.

  • Motorways are joined by means of slip roads.
  • You must give way to traffic already on the motorway.
  • Drivers on the slip road should watch the traffic in the nearside lane while approaching the motorway looking for suitable gaps.
  • When a suitable gap occurs and it is safe to do so, move smoothly into the nearside lane.
  • It is advisable to remain in the nearside lane for a while to acclimatise yourself to the speed and general conditions.
  • Be prepared to stop on the slip road if there are insufficient gaps on the nearside lane of the motorway.

Lane Discipline.

  • There is no such thing as ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ lanes on motorways.
  • The simple rule is that you drive in the nearside (left – hand) lane except when overtaking.
  • Whether on a two or three lane motorway, the offside (right hand) lane is intended for overtaking.
  • On a three lane motorway, you may stay in the centre lane while there is slower moving traffic in the nearside (left-hand) lane.
  • Always be mindful of drivers trying to join the motorway from slip roads.
  • Always leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front to allow you to stop safely. Try using the two second rule, ie., watch the vehicle ahead of you pass a stationary object beside the road and say “ only a fool breaks the two second rule” – if you pass the object before you finish saying this, then YOU ARE TOO CLOSE FOR SAFETY. Leave a longer gap in adverse weather conditions.

Leaving a Motorway.

  • It is important when planning your journey to note the junction and route number at which you wish to exit the motorway.
  • Reversing along the hard shoulder or attempting to U-turn after missing a junction is prohibited.
  • Junctions, destinations and route numbers are shown on large blue signs and, in some cases, on overhead gantries well before the actual junction.
  • In addition to the junction sign you will see blue countdown markers situated at 300m, 200m and 100m before the start of the exit road.
  • Don’t forget when you get onto the exit road to check your speedometer as you re-adjust to non-motorway speeds.

back of car in wet

Breakdowns / Emergencies.

  • In the event of a breakdown, pull over onto the hard shoulder, apply the handbrake and switch on your hazard warning lights.
  • If using a warning triangle place it approximately 15 metres behind the vehicle.
  • Park as far to the left of the hard shoulder as possible and use the nearside (left) doors to leave the vehicle.
  • Contact services giving details of breakdown/emergency, your location, and await assistance.
  • Never attempt to walk on or across the motorway.
  • Hard shoulders are not safety zones, so take care.

For more information, contact:

Road Safety Officer
Mayo County Council
Aras an Chontae
The Mall
Co. Mayo
Phone: 094 9047115
9am to 5pm