Thursday, 23 February 2012

Motorway driving, Irish-style

What is it about so many Irish motorists that they cannot get their muddled heads around the idea of motorways?

And what special kind of self-assurance and supreme confidence in their own stupidity do they possess that they will obstinately sit in the overtaking lane of a three-lane motorway, blocking traffic behind them, even as the inner lanes are free?

I’ve never seen it occur – on such a regular basis – anywhere else.

 Is it down to pure cussed stupidity?  Or is it because quangos such as the RSA (Road Safety Authority) do not divert sufficient resources to meaningful driver education in this country? 

It prefers to bombard people with ridiculous adverts depicting daydreaming drivers somersaulting their vehicles spectacularly before flattening  little Johnny on his swing in the back garden, instead of telling them how to use motorway lanes correctly. 

Of late, I’ve had cause to use the M50 several times a week, and my blood pressure hasn’t been the same since. It seems that the best way to make progress on the M50, and other Irish motorways I assume, is to stick to the inside lane. That stays relatively empty, apart from the occasional truck, while the middle and outer overtaking lanes are chock-full of half-wit lemmings driving within touching distance of each others’ bumpers, their  progress bearing no relation to accepted lane convention.

Paddy and Mary don’t do “slow” lane it seems.

And that’s mightily ironic.

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Anonymous said...

The problem is that Irish motorways are modelled on the daft UK system rather than the much more logical German autobahns.

What exactly is a 3-lane motorway for anyway? An inner lane for driving, one next to it for overtaking, and next to that a lane for the especially impatient who want to overtake those who are overtaking.

Autobahns are based on a 2-lane system (although some congested stretches have more) - one lane for driving and one for overtaking. What makes the Autobahns work though is the fact that the speed limit is higher (140km/h or none in some stretches). This is too fast for most drivers who quickly move back to the driving lane to avoid the speed merchants who within minutes appear in your mirrors like proverbial bats out of hell.

Irish and UK motorways clog up as you describe because the driving lane becomes the preserve of those who want to drive slower than the limit, while the 'overtaking' lanes become the preserve of those who want to travel at the limit (and would prefer to go faster).

I agree with Stirling Moss who has argued for years that this often criticised driving behaviour is a logical reaction to poorly designed motorways and speed limits that are too slow.

John said...

Doing your driving lessons in Ireland you are not allowed to use the motorway, so after you pass the test you can do so without ever getting any practical experience of using a motorway, simple illogical Irish thinking.

Pike said...

@ Anonymous: there is no general speed limit on German Autobahns, but as you stated, approx 50% have a speed limit of usually 120 km/h (not 140).
The right hand lane on German Autobahns is usually full of lorries, lorries, lorries and lorries, so the speed you can do is very seldom higher than what you are allowed to do on Irish motorways ;-) I used to enjoy to drive on German motorways, but not any more: too much traffic and too many wannabe Schumachers in small VW's or BMW's ...

Anonymous said...

UK learners certainly cannot drive on motorways either - same is Ireland. Is there any country where they can?

@anon 10:11 @Pike
130 km/h is the recommended maximum speed on Autobahns, but sections now have speed limits, ranging from 80 to 130 km/h. The 140 km/h speed limit is being tested in Lower Saxony.

Pike said...

@anon: sorry, forgot to say...: I am German and have a German driving licence for a loooong time ;-)
The r e c o m m e n d e d speed limit is 130 km/h, correct. Still: approx 50% are limited to 120 km/h, and I don't know about a 140 km/h speed limit in Niedersachsen aka Lower Saxony, the home of Volkswagen. But doesn't make any odds on this thread anyway, and to be quite honest, the driving style on Irish motorways drives me mad too, can't do 200 km/h if I want to :-(

Dakota said...

GM........New trend now is to hog the overtaking lane, pottering along at half the speed limit and oblivlous to others, while washing your bloody windows!.........If you want sanity GM Ireland is not a good environment.

The authorities see it as a badge of honour, if they are given the opportunity to make the same blatant mistakes as other National Authorities. The country as a whole is corrupt, the roads are indicative of this.

Ella said...

Hi GM, I use the N3 and then the M3 on my way to prop up the economy of a morning. And.... instead of speeding up to join the N3 just after Blanchardstown SC, you get gobshites who actually slow down or stop. It's not a daily occurence but it's a very regular one. AGh...

John said...

Yes,GM, they are allowed under supervision from a driving school,in Germany for the normal license you have to do a mandatory 14 theoretical lessons, 12 practical lessons (4 motorway, 3 night time, 5 country roads), and then however a number of actual lessons are required for the actual driving process. Did my test there and consider myself a decent driver.

The Gombeen Man said...

@ John. Hiya... thanks for that. It was our publicity-shy serial anonymous friend who made that query.

@ Ella. That is incredibly dangerous. There is an awful junction off the M50 up near Palmerstown, and the traffic enters a dual carriageway from the right-hand lane... cheapo planning. Given this practice, it is treacherous.

@ Dakota. I think its the same bloody-mindedness that wanted to force Catholic "values" on us all, deny divorce and abortion rights, and force compulsory Gaeilge on all. These half-wits are sitting in the overtaking lane, and they are not moving for anyone. I wish I had a ramming device fitted - that would get 'em out of the way.

@ Pike. Yes, I've driven a fair bit in Germany... Spain, France, Belgium and Luxembourg. The main thing in Germany is they know how to use the lanes. It doesn't matter how many there might be, two, three, or four.

Once it goes beyond single-carriageway here in Ireland they are lost.

Anonymous said...

Oh there is nowhere as bad as Ireland GM - LOL

The Gombeen Man said...

Why don't you try living here, LOL?

Anonymous said...

It gets even better. My brother was driving at the speed limit in the left lane, and passed a line of trucks crawling in the right lane. He was pulled in by a squad car for dangerous over taking. Pointing out of the obvious made no difference.

Oh, great news, Ireland is now the poster boy for the rest of Europe for doing austerity right. Kenny lectured the Italians on how to do austerity properly. Ten years ago the gobshites were lecturing others on how to build an economy. Is it any wonder everything is such a shambles when this is the sort of verbal diarrohea the elected boghopping, parochial, spineless phuckwits have the gall to say to developed countries.

Come aaaaann Mayo. Pulll.


The Gombeen Man said...

Yep Hobnob. It would be funny if we didn't have to live in it every day.

The actions of our Garda friends in your brother's case does not surprise me at all. So he gets done, will no doubt have increased insurance premiums, and the idiots sitting in the overtaking lane continue as they were.

What cutting edge police work from yet another body that functions primarily as a drain on our taxes. Lazy so and sos will always take the easiest route to a conviction for their personel files.

On the continent, people get points for hogging the overtaking lane. Our boys and girls in blue don't even seem to realise it is an offence.

Dakota said...

Hobnob, your brothers experience says it all.

As for the Irish showing the Europeans how to do Austerity and bubble inflating, you would think certain members of the Eurozone would have seen the irony the first time round. Hold on the Govt sponsored QUANGO the ESRI says that Austerity is working, so everthings all right then. Hurray!

David said...

Just to correct a bit of confusion, you can't directly compare a 3-lane motorway to a 2-lane motorway because they might have different functions. 2-lane motorways were intended for low-density long-distance travel. 3-lane motorways (or more, as in many North American cities) are designed for high-density urban traffic. You'll rarely find a long-distance motorway with more than 2 lanes.

Basically, the logic (and experience) is that more lanes equals more total highway capacity. Each motorway lane has a maximum flow of approximately 2000 vehicles per lane per hour, and this maximum capacity occurs at 70 km/h. Above or below 70 km/h the capacity drops. Also, you'll find that urban motorways in Germany usually have speed limits.

So basically the M50 has 3 lanes because of a need for greater capacity, because it's an urban motorway, designed for maximum throughput at rush hour. It could have 10+ lanes each side if there was a need. The M50 having 3 lanes has nothing to do with motorways being in the UK or German model.

I hope this helps clear things up

Allahboy protect me said...

Anon - "there is nowhere as bad as Ireland" I've just driven from Salallah to Muscat in Oman and I'm going to need at least a gallon of Grecian 2000 and a large pack of full strength Valium to restore myself to normal. Drivers passing on breakdown lane at 170. Drivers coming up the breakdown lane in the wrong direction!!! Drivers so u p your arse you could see the brand name of the mobiles they were chatting on. Hamdulillah I made it in one piece.

The Gombeen Man said...

Well done with making it, Allahboy! Want to you stay intact.

Delhi is something too... I was too scared to drive there. So there's a couple of places actually worse than dear old Ireland!!!

Thanks for making those points, David.

Well explained.

Anonymous said...

Well said. I have never seen it anywhere before, I have a southern Irish licence and live in the North, I drive for a living and I swear its unbelievable that drivers use the hard shoulder to make a quick pass. I do most of my passing on the middle lane of the M50 because the outside lane is blocked with plonkers just sitting there, they don't care if you pass them on the inside lane, makes me wonder what the hell they are doing on the outside lane.

Sean Kinvarra said...

People always complain about empty driving lanes while lanes 2 and 3 are at crawling pace. I have went through this discussion on undertaking thousands of times on various websites and the vast majority of replies think I'm a danger to other road users because I agree with motorway undertaking. People can't think for themselves,whatever their told by the RSA must be right, yet neither can tell me what danger undertaking can cause that overtaking can't. To pass a hogger in lane 2 of a 3 lane motorway how is it safer to make 4 lane changes than none. It's like in a fire drill in a building every body heading for one emergency exit instead of two.

Anonymous said...

@Sean Kinvarra
Agree with you or rather I agree with driving in the correct lane regardless of whether the Irish prefer the middle or right lane.

Funny about the fire drill, remember being scolded by a teacher years ago for using the nearest exit during a drill. I was supposed to walk through the burning building to the assembly area.