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 December, 2015

Posted by Louis on December 31, 2015

The Novice Plate and Attitudes

The N-Plate is displayed by ‘novice’ drivers after passing the driving test. It’s similar to the L-plate which was displayed while learning to drive. If the six months or a year or more in the harness of the L-plate appeared as long as the trimmings of the rosary in the past, then the introduction of the N-plate smote more than a few, especially those who have left age 30 or more behind.
The N-plate must be displayed for 2 years after passing the test.
Non-display of N – plates is an offence under road traffic law and is punishable by a fine of up to €1,000 for a first offence. On becoming a fixed charge, the failure to display an N-plate will carry 2 penalty points, or 4 on conviction in court.
Drivers subject to displaying the N-plate has a lower threshold of 7 penalty points leading to disqualification. So, don’t incur penalty points, especially during those 2 years.
Novice drivers do not require to be accompanied by a qualified driver, like those subject to the L-plate. But note – a Novice driver does not qualify as an ‘accompanying’ driver.
Of course the purpose of those two plates is to highlight to other drivers that the learner/novice is in a special category and should be treated with the respect that they deserve. There I come to another point – a gentleman who did his driving lessons with me this year and duly passed his test (Class B) kept in touch and went to the trouble of sending an e-mail showing how other drivers regard N-plate holders. His email is as follows –

Hello Louis; hope you and family are well. I see you occasionally with a student driving through the streets of Trim and I recall our days working towards the driving test. Now that I have been a Novice for a few months I have a few observations you might find interesting.
The red “N” tag gets no respect from other drivers. I have lost count of the occasions when I have been motoring along at the posted speed on the Navan road or even driving through town when I have been passed by another motorist as though I was standing still. It is as though the “N” designation has become the new “L” driver status, as if to say Novice drivers don’ know what they are doing.
I have noticed a lot more “N” tags in recent days and I want to tell you, they are the best drivers on the road – with very few exceptions. I can see the rules of the road being applied and techniques that we discussed being implemented on a regular basis by Novices. Maybe after a few years some of the good practices will wear off onto some of the scofflaws on Irish roads.
There are more scofflaws than ever on the road, passing on curves, even with double solid lines in the center. Speeding is the biggest violation I see. The default speed limit for these characters is none, but they do settle out at about 100 km/h on the Navan Road and as much as 120 on the N2 and N3. Don’t these clowns ever get ticketed by the Gardai? For them, hatched areas on the road are invisible, creating a privileged passing zone just for them. Mind you, the rest of us are dutifully steaming along at 80 km/h and staying in our lanes.
Novice drivers do very well in roundabouts for the most part. They enter at the correct point, signal appropriately and exit where they should. I find that when I enter where I’m supposed to at the Dublin Road roundabout here, I am halfway through the turn and signalling to turn down to Longwood when the car behind me has pulled almost alongside, ready to pass me on his way to the Longwood Road. If I get halfway through the roundabout without turning left onto the Dublin Road, what do these drivers think I’m going to do?
And the last word on roundabouts is one of my old pet peeves; drivers entering almost any roundabout are entering too fast. I have seen several near-misses when these guys come into the roundabout so fast they nearly rear-end a car that is already in the turn before they get there. One day people are going to be killed. Will it make a difference?
This is a cry from the heart to those drivers who disregard the special position that Learner and Novice drivers should hold on public roads. As Ger says above, when some drivers see the L or N displayed they see red, probably. Why? They know the L&N driver keeps the speed limits, signals correctly and takes up correct positioning, especially approaching and on roundabouts – unlike the so called ‘fully qualified’ drivers. Folks, that is the real reason we had 190 coffins after road collisions last year and some are trying hard to catch up with that figure this year. Overtaking is reckless in too many instances. It’s the L&N drivers who are doing it correctly and being insulted, even taunted by those with a bad attitude.
There’s a cure for such behaviour. There should be a refresher course of at least five lessons for anyone who infringes like the above. Unfortunately they’re rarely caught until the crash happens. Then the innocent suffer as much or more than the perpetrator. And that will go on and on. Too bad. Don’t quit.
Ger’s reference to ‘scofflaw’ is not a word used much in these lands – it means one who holds the law in disregard; to ‘scuff’ the law was coined during prohibition in the US.