Vehicle Safety

Safety Checks on your vehicle

Getting started:

Starting to drive isn’t just a matter of starting the engine and driving off. You should first of all check your vehicle to make sure it’s safe and ready for the road.

Everyday Checks:

Make a habit of checking daily:

  • The windscreen, windows and mirrors are clean
  • All lights (including indicators) are working, replace any dead bulbs immediately
  • The brakes are working, don’t drive with faulty brakes

Periodic Checks:

Vehicle Safety ChecksThese checks are both for safety and good vehicle maintenance. Check and top up if necessary:

  • Engine oil
  • Water level in the radiator or expansion tank
  • Brake fluid level
  • Battery, top up with distilled water if necessary (some batteries are maintenance free and don’t need topping up)
  • Windscreen and rear window washer bottles

You should also check tyres and make sure they are:

  • Legal: They must have the correct tread (they must be at least 1.6mm of tread), and be free of dangerous cuts and defects
  • at the right pressure

How Often?

How often you make the checks depends on how much you drive. Consult your vehicle’s own handbook. If you drive a lot, you may need to do these everyday.

Regular Servicing:

Have your vehicle regularly serviced. The owner’s handbook will tell you when servicing is recommended.

Gears for beginners

When people start to drive they sometimes find it hard to make sense of the gears.

This is a brief synopsis:

Driving GearsFirst gear – The most powerful, but slowest. Used for moving off, low speed clutch control and for manoeuvring.

Second gear – This gear is also powerful, but faster than first gear. It is useful for rapid acceleration and for driving at lower speed through some hazards.

Third gear – A faster gear, used for acceleration over 25km. Used for driving through some hazards.

Fourth gear – The most economical gear, with insufficient power for speeds of much lower than 50km. Used to provide progressive acceleration from about 50km and for cruising at constant speeds.

Fifth gear – Used as an aid for cruising at sustained higher speeds.

Learning to drive in Ireland

L Drivers

As you may know by know, as of the 4th of April 2011 all L Drivers are obliged to take 12 EDT lessons before sitting their driving test. In addition, a number of penal offences have been introduced for learner drivers. These include driving unaccompanied, not displaying L plates when driving, and the carrying of a passenger by a learner motorcyclist. These offences are punishable by a minimum of €1,000 fine for a first offence.

Driving School MallowAge

These are restrictions on what type of vehicle you can drive at what age. For example, you have to be 16 to ride a moped. 17 to drive a standard car, 18 to drive a truck and 21 to drive a bus.

L Plates

All learner permit holders with the exception of those who hold learner permits in category W (work vehicles/land tractors) must display L plates while they are driving.


All learner permit holders, with the exception of those who hold a learner permit category A1 (Motorcycles), A (Motorcycle not greater than 125cc) or M (Mopeds), must be accompanied by a qualified driver at all times while driving. A qualified driver who holds a full licence for a continuous period of two years, in respect of the vehicle category being driven by the learner permit holder. A person holding a category W (work vehicle/land tractor) learner permit is not permitted to carry a passenger unless the vehicle is constructed or adapted to carry a passenger and the passenger is a qualified driver – i.e. a person who has held a full licence for the vehicle category for at least two years.

Mandatory driving lessons before sitting driving test

Here is a brief explanation of whats entailed in the twelve driving lessons: the latest rules introduced by the RSA.

Driving Lessons

Brief outline of how 12 lessons should be carried out:

As of the 4th 2011, all new learner permit holders will have to do 12 lessons before they can sit their driving test, Lessons 1 to 8 must be taken in order of the syllabus. Lessons 9 to 12 can be taken in any order.

The RSA recommend you leave two weeks between lessons to allow for practice and learning.

This may involve further lessons with an ADI Instructor but must also include practice sessions with a sponsor or a mixture of both.


The Road Safety Authority publishes reference materials such as Rules if the Road and the Car Learner Manual, which you may find useful.

Spread lessons of 6 months:

To combine practice, study and instruction the RSA recommend that you should take at least six months to complete the 12 EDT lessons.

Getting a full driving license in Ireland

From April 4th, 2011, every learner driver is required to do 12 driving lessons before they can sit their driving test. Before you can start these lessons you have to pass a theory test and then apply for your learner permit.

You can apply for your theory test online at, by calling 1890 606 106 lo call rate or you can obtain an application form at your local Garda Station or Post Office. The fee for your theory test is €40.66 from February 1st, 2011. When you have passed your theory test you can apply for your Learner Permit provided that you are aged 17 years or over.

Driving Lessons MallowForms can be obtained from your local Garda Station or Post Office. A Learner Permit is generally issued for 2 years with a fee of €15.00. Now you can book your 12 lessons. When you start your driving lessons you will receive your log book from your Driving Instructor. The Instructor will stamp your log book at the end of each lesson. It is recommended while doing these lessons that you also practise accompanied by a sponsor.

When you are 6 months on the road you can apply for your driving test. Again application forms are available from your local Garda Station, Post Office or you can book online at The cost to apply for your B Licence (that is a car licence) is €85.00. The average waiting time from your driving test is 10 weeks. This can vary in different test centres. If you have any queries on your driving test you can ring the RSA (Road Safety Authority) on the lo call number 1890 40 6040.

Before your driving test you should familiarise yourself with the test routes with a qualified Driving Instructor.

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