The Irish Driving Scene An Instructors Perspective

The Irish Driving Scene An Instructors Perspective



The Irish Driving Scene.An Instructors Perspective

The Driving Environment

Today’s motoring environment is​ very different to​ that of​ thirty or​ even fifteen years ago for​ a​ number of​ key reasons and​ we will examine these to​ get an​ idea of​ the kind of​ skills needed to​ survive in​ today’s world and​ stay accident free.
for​ the first time in​ over one hundred and​ fifty years our population​ has exceeded 4 million​ and​ continues to​ increase steadily.

Demographics
The age of​ our population​ is​ quite unique and​ according to​ the 2018 census there are approximately 640,200 people in​ the 15 – 24 age bracket who are in, or​ approaching, the age at​ which they will want to​ drive. Lets be clear on​ this​ point …every person​ in​ today’s Ireland​ will aspire to​ drive and​ own a​ car in​ this​ prosperity environment, for​ career, family and​ social reasons .in​ the past until you​ had the potential to​ be able to​ own a​ car it​ was quite common​ not to​ bother to​ learn to​ drive. Those that needed to​ get to​ work from a​ distance tended to​ rely on​ neighbours and​ friends or​ relatives to​ be the ever present chauffeur. It’s very common​ today for​ an​ exodus from the city limits out to​ the open country to​ live, with huge numbers of​ houses, sorry mansions; being constructed at​ seemingly breakneck speed. The draw of​ the country air and​ the sweet sounds of​ birds in​ the morning seems to​ be an​ irresistible magnet for​ the city dweller. a​ car or​ three is​ taken for​ granted. of​ course , we are a​ nation​ of​ keen gardeners now and​ the regular trip to​ the garden centre could not be undertaken by public transport because it​ doesn’t exist in​ most rural areas. All of​ this​ means that we have a​ far greater number of​ cars and​ drivers on​ the road than thirty years ago and​ at​ different times of​ day due to​ many variations in​ working hours. So there is​ hardly a​ time when you​ are unlikely to​ meet another vehicle. Six am during the working week can be just as​ dangerous as​ five thirty rush hour.

Learner Drivers
Current numbers of​ learner Drivers are estimated at​ 350,000 and​ this​ continues to​ be swelled by the increase in​ our immigrant population, both expatriates and​ non-nationals setting up home here for​ the first time. The waiting list for​ a​ Driving Test has reached an​ all time high due mainly to​ these demographics, but also to​ the relatively small number of​ Driving Examiners
. this​ situation​ is​ being addressed at​ the moment with the probability of​ an​ outside agency being drafted in​ to​ undertake a​ further 40,000 Driving Tests over the course of​ a​ year .While it​ is​ unfortunate that all drivers have to​ wait such a​ long time in​ order to​ sit their Test it​ is​ an​ opportunity for​ them to​ learn some very essential skills and​ to​ prepare well for​ the Test.
It is​ very common​ for​ candidates to​ leave their lessons to​ the last moment which very often produces a​ negative result. Worse still, is​ the mistaken belief that the longer one is​ driving the greater chance of​ passing the Driving Test. Without professional lessons the chances of​ passing the Test are pretty remote; but more crucial will be the lack of​ basic skills leading to​ accidents which can and​ should be preventable .Passing the Driving Test, while certainly a​ milestone in​ a​ person’s driving career, is​ only the beginning of​ a​ life –long process not the end.

Professional Tuition
Safe Driving for​ Life can be achieved, with the correct mind set and​ the knowledge that good basic driving skills are the foundation​ for​ the learning process and​ need to​ be provided by Professional Instructors and​ not relatives or​ friends. Practise with Mum or​ Dad is​ very useful but only in​ conjunction​ with proper Tuition. Being able to​ move a​ car down the road and​ perhaps change a​ gear or​ two and​ even steer out of​ trouble is​ not the level of​ skill needed to​ stay alive and​ is​ about as​ far from the required Driving Test standard as​ we are from the Moon.(about 250,000 miles, sorry 400,000Km at​ the last count).I am not suggesting that we need to​ drive a​ quarter of​ a​ million​ miles


New Technology
The development of​ technology over the last number of​ years has had a​ big impact on​ the driving environment both positive and​ negative. Better roads and​ road markings make the driving experience much more pleasurable especially on​ major thoroughfares; however despite the millions of​ Euro spent on​ the main​ road infrastructure, Irish country roads will probably remain​ as​ they have always been, difficult and​ full of​ danger for​ the novice or​ Tourist Driver.
Legislation, most of​ which has emanated from Europe, has contributed to​ better maintained cars, that are more Eco-friendly and​ more easy to​ drive. Having said that, a​ car will quite easily go off and​ do its own thing if​ the driver has not got the ability to​ control it​ under all kinds of​ weather and​ road conditions.
Cars are much better insulated than years ago so the impression​ of​ speed is​ nothing like what it​ was thirty or​ forty years ago when you​ really knew you​ were travelling at​ 70mph.Wind noise and​ vibration​ kept you​ alert and​ aware! Even small family cars today have the ability to​ travel at​ 100mph (or 156kph) without too much coaxing .Back then a​ much larger capacity engine of​ say 1500 cc had a​ top speed of​ around 75mph (120kph).this​ ease of​ speed gives new and​ novice drivers the opportunity to​ far exceed their capabilities without realising it​ .

Employment
in​ today’s Ireland​ we have virtually full employment and​ many sectors are suffering from a​ lack of​ skilled employees, the commercial driving sector being one of​ many. More jobs and​ the need to​ get to​ those jobs on​ time has created a​ society that is​ flush with prosperity and​ awash with an​ ever increasing number of​ new cars on​ the road. The opportunities now being created for​ younger people with full Driving Licenses are many. Indeed most occupations now require you​ to​ have a​ full driving license and​ it​ certainly looks good on​ a​ C.V. especially if​ you​ are in​ the younger age bracket. So get to​ it​ all you​ young ones and​ don’t leave it​ till later on​ in​ your​ career…. Do it​ now!

Accidents
Most of​ these new cars on​ the road are being piloted by Learner Drivers, a​ good proportion​ of​ whom, do not take driving lessons professionally.
Unlike most of​ the rest of​ our European Neighbours, we do not yet have mandatory tuition​ for​ learner drivers, although it​ is​ being proposed. Therefore we have a​ situation​ whereby learner drivers can buy a​ car and​ just head off into the wide blue yonder without the necessary skills to​ control what is​ essentially a​ lethal weapon. Our Accident statistics bear out this​ point and​ it​ would be of​ great benefit to​ the whole community to​ see a​ reduction​ in​ these horrific figures
Recent E.U. Directives have extended the scope of​ the Driving Test and​ not before time. There has to​ be at​ least a​ basic knowledge of​ instruments and​ equipment before you​ can pass the Driving Test today but there are still many areas of​ driving expertise that do not come within​ the remit of​ the Irish Driving Test. an​ emergency stop; country road driving; high speed carriageway experience and​ a​ greater emphasis on​ hazard perception​ would go a​ long way to​ improving standards on​ today’s roads by being incorporated into the Driving Test.




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