Driving on scenic country roads surrounded in trees and greenery can be therapeutic, but Irish drivers should drive carefully to avoid hidden dangers.
From the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher in County Clare to the stunning Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland has some of the most spectacular places to visit.
But when driving on country roads in Ireland, you have to be aware of hidden dangers.
From large tractors to potholes, and hidden dips and flooding, New Driver’s Stephen Savage talks us through four things every driver should be aware of.
1. Blind bends, hidden dips and corners
“Unlike relatively straight motorways, country roads are narrow and winding,” Stephen explains.
“Often, you could find yourself going around a bend and see cyclists or tractors in front of you.
Country roads usually don’t have any footpaths, so the chances of meeting pedestrians walking the road are significantly higher too.”
Stephen says hidden dips can pose difficulties for new Irish drivers.
“Hidden dips come in all shapes and sizes on country roads; a dip could be minor or severe enough to damage your suspension and at worst, affect your control of the car.”
2. Flooded roads.
It’ll come as no great shock to you that it rains in Ireland.
And with frequent rain, country roads that don’t have the benefit of flooding and drainage infrastructure can pose a risk to new Irish drivers.
“Ireland has particularly heavy bouts of rainfall in Autumn and Winter, and as a result, some country roads experience flooding,” Stephen explains.
“With narrow country roads, drivers have to navigate either through heavily flooded roads or by driving around them; both can cause accidents.
Flooded roads also affect your tyre’s traction and braking distance; driving fast into a flooded area of the road could result in losing control of your car,” he warns.
“The best advice is to check weather forecasts before you leave the house and if heavy rain is forecast, try to avoid country roads and opt for main roads instead.
If that isn’t possible, drive slowly on country roads and be mindful of leaving enough space between you and the motorists in front of you in case you have to stop suddenly,” Stephen advises.
3. Trees and leaves
Ireland is also known as the Emerald Isle, and for a good reason.
Our green country is packed with trees, bushes, hedges, and shrubbery.
“Particularly in Autumn and Winter, our country roads come under strain with fallen trees,” Stephen says.
“As well as fallen trees, every year from Autumn onwards, fallen leaves cover Ireland’s country roads.
Leaves can hide a multitude of dangers; hidden potholes buried below the leaves can damage your car and the suspension and even make you lose control of the vehicle.
Leaves are also notoriously slippery too and can make driving conditions feel similar to driving on ice,” she adds.
4. Be wary of animals big and small
Country roads have wildlife all around them, and it’s not uncommon for Irish drivers to meet foxes, rabbits, deer, badgers and even cats and dogs.
“Remember, on country roads you’re more likely to bump into a wide range of animals and don’t forget it’s not uncommon to drive around a corner and meet a farmer moving hundreds of cattle.
Animals also can escape on to the road, so again, when driving on country roads, take nothing for granted, slow down and keep an eye on the road ahead of you”.
Keep up to date with all the latest Irish driving news.