‘Stay cautious on your staycation’ is the core message behind a new campaign launched today by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána. As holidaymakers across Ireland look forward to a summer break at home, both the RSA and the Gardai are urging road users to ensure that they stay safe on the road by planning their route ahead of time, staying alert when driving on roads in unfamiliar areas, taking a break if tired behind the wheel and looking out for other road users.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms. Hildegarde Naughton said: “Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people will be holidaying at home this year so we can expect increased traffic on our roads, particularly around popular destinations. As we go about our staycations this year, we must remain vigilant and safe on the road, not just when travelling to or from a holiday destination but also when touring around and on the holiday itself. This summer is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to ‘discover Ireland’ but please do so safely when using the road – stay cautious on your staycation.”
Ms. Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority had this advice for staycationers: “If you are planning a staycation, it’s only natural for your driving style to reflect the holiday mood. But when combined with driving on unfamiliar roads, it can be a dangerous mix. While it’s great to relax by the beach or in our wonderful green spaces, you need to stay alert when using the road. As our campaign message says, ‘stay cautious on your staycation’.”
Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána said: “An Garda Síochána want people to enjoy their summer. If you are planning a staycation, please ensure you plan your journey in advance, take frequent breaks and do not allow any distractions while driving. I appeal to all road users to be vigilant on our roads – be aware of changed road layouts and mindful of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists. Park safely and legally when visiting beaches, beauty spots as well as other public amenities. Parking illegally can lead to unnecessary risk and dangers such as forcing pedestrians to walk on busy roads. It is important to ensure our emergency services can gain access to all these areas at all times, so please be mindful during these summer months.”
Assistant Commissioner Hilman continued: “It is also important to reduce and eliminate opportunities for crime, so I am appealing to everyone to ensure property or valuables are not left visible in cars or other vehicles.”
The RSA is reminding anyone planning on hiring a vehicle, driving a recreational vehicle (RV), or towing a caravan to familiarise themselves with these vehicles and to know the specific rules of the road that apply to them.
Mr Sam Waide, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “Taking a caravan or an RV on the road offers a sense of adventure within a reasonable budget. Some, who don’t own a car and may not drive frequently, may also choose to rent a car solely for the duration of their staycation. If you are renting a car or an RV or you have not towed a caravan before, you need to familiarise yourself with these vehicles and the rules of the road for them before you take to the road. If towing a caravan be aware of the size and type of caravan you are permitted to tow. And remember, the maximum speed limit for towing a caravan is 80km/h.”
Drivers were also urged to ensure that any luggage or equipment loaded onto the roof rack of a car is strapped down securely. If using bicycle racks, make sure they don’t obstruct the rear lights on your vehicle, and use a lighting board.
All agencies highlighted the need for drivers to be on the lookout for vulnerable road users including motorcyclists, cyclists, walkers, and horse riders. This means staying alert on the road and not getting distracted while driving – if you need to check directions, pull over in a safe spot to do so. Recognise the signs of driver fatigue and if you feel tired, pull over, drink a caffeinated drink, and get a 15-minute nap. Most importantly of all slow down, what’s the rush, you are on holidays!
To raise awareness of the need to ‘Stay cautious on your staycation’, the RSA and An Garda Síochána are mounting a public information campaign which includes radio, digital and social media advertising over the summer.
To date in 2021, a total of 55 people have died on Irish roads, 16 less than the same period in 2020.