South Meath Driving School

Making Irish Roads Safer

We use a 1.4 litre Toyota Yaris.

    Dual control means the tutor has a clutch and brake pedal on the passenger side for demonstration or emergency purposes.
    This car is very easy to drive and allows good vision in all directions.
    Diesel engine and manual gears.
    Seats are adjustable to suit small or tall people. Wing mirrors electronically adjustable
    Perfect for learning to drive.

Archive for June, 2015

Posted by Louis on June 30, 2015

Back Roads and a Barn Dance

It’s holiday time and the schoolchildren are wearing their summer smiles of freedom as they look forward with giddy anticipation to eight weeks of lazing, sunshine and holidays. For the working parents, it can be a double edged sword. There’s minders and babysitters to be employed in many cases and grannies being called out of retirement. We want all those children back in school and colleges , come September still smiling. With all the grief that we see like that of the J1 students in California to the cruel fate of those in Tunisia of late, we need a little luck to survive the summer months.

The RSA are highlighting instances of accidents occurring as a result of drivers, especially mothers, turning around in their cars while driving, to correct or chastise children in the back seat, thus taking their own eyes off the road for more seconds than is safe. In a survey by a university in the US, it was found that children are 12 times a greater distraction to a driver than is using a mobile phone. In a 16 minute car journey with children, the drivers eyes were off the road for an average of 3 ½ minutes. So, don’t look back is the theme. A glance is all there’s time for. A small row in the back seat shouldn’t spill over into the next townland before the driver has time to pull in and referee the bout.

From Christian Doctrine days, remember the story of the two angels visiting Lot and his family in Sodom (Israel) and they stayed had a sleepover. At dawn, the angels told Lot to flee with his family to avoid the imminent disaster that was about to strike the city. “Flee for your lives and do not look behind you,” they told him. As the family exited the city, Lot’s wife’s curiosity got the better of her so she looked back at Sodom and was turned into a pillar of salt. Her salt statue still stands in Sodom city.  Drivers, be warned, expect children to create a stink in the back seat. It’s not the worst thing that can happen on a journey.

It maybe a case of ‘The old dog for the hard road and the pup for the Boreen’ but some of our boreens or back roads do us no favours. For it’s on those R242s also known as Regional Roads that danger lurks. It isn’t on the motorways and primary roads that most fatal crashes happen: no, it’s on the lesser roads. Such roads are too often poorly maintained, narrow, windy, potholed and unlit. To give credit where credit is due, the Fine Gael/Labour duet has done a good job on resurfacing many such roads. But, there are a few ‘howlers’ left, like the link from Peterstown ( Navan Road to Marcie’s (Newtown) Bridge.) How in the name of Moses, after spending a fortune of millions on the Trim-Dublin and Trim-Navan roads in the Noughties, could a section  like that passing Mary Donnelly’s cottage be left in its 1960s state. It would have been the loose change of the overall cost to complete the job and give locals who like shortcuts a little bonus.

This is a short link road, one that bears heavy traffic and the malaise continues over the bridge to the Dublin Road. When a costing is being prepared for main roads, how come such short but important sections are ignored? Incidentally, if I see correctly, there’s resurfacing afoot on the piece from the same bridge to the Dublin Road. Great if it is, and not that much about a General Election -yet.

Every local driver is too well aware of the mile of road from Balreask to Beechmount (approaching Navan from the Trim side.) There must be over a hundred manholes ‘astutely’ positioned in the left lane making them impossible to avoid. Some are drooping several inches below the level of the road surface. I’m reliably informed that many motorists’ aluminium wheels get cracked in those dipped manholes. Just inside those rows of manholes is a line of water grates. Then there’s the inevitable dipped tracks of pipe laying. It seems that the Co. Co. don’t inspect such dips in the road unless the public complain. Who’s in charge? In Gay Byrne’s heyday, he maintained that when the Council completed all the road markings – white lines, yellow lines etc., it was a sure sign that the road was about to get a new coat of tar. And Gay was no dozer.

With July upon us and talking about rural roads reminds me of the one in Inniskeen, which carried traffic of a different, if more light-hearted kind. One stanza may help smooth any such poor surfaces –


The bicycles go by in twos and threes –

There’s a dance in Billy Brennan’s barn tonight,

And there’s the half-talk code of mysteries

And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.

Half-past eight and there is not a spot

Upon a mile of road, no shadow thrown

That might turn out a man or woman, not

A footfall tapping secrecies of stone.


Kavanagh may have felt isolated on those Monaghan country roads, but surely the barn dance made good his loneliness!