About the Rules of the Road
The rules of the road are for all road users - drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, horse riders and cyclists.
You must have a satisfactory knowledge of these rules to get a driving licence, but learning about road safety doesn't stop once you pass a driving test. It takes a lifetime.
You need to constantly update your skills and knowledge and be aware of changes to road traffic laws. This is why you should understand and obey these rules whether you are learning to drive or have been driving for many years.
This site uses a "how to" approach and covers many of the manoeuvres identified as factors in a road crash. It uses three methods to set down clearly and concisely how the law applies to all road users.
- It uses must and must not to draw attention to behaviour the law clearly demands or forbids.
- It uses terms such as should and should not to tell you how best to act in a situation where no legal rule is in place.
- It illustrates and describes traffic lights, road marking and signs provided to regulate traffic.
By knowing the rules of the road, practising good driving skills and generally taking care as a road user, you will help to play a vital role in preventing a crash. You will also be making road safety policies more effective.
A number of skills are expected of road users, especially drivers:
- the ability to act responsibly,
- the ability to foresee and react to hazards,
- good concentration, and
- a good level of driving expertise.
Road users are also expected to have a positive and considerate attitude to each other, and particularly to vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists pedestrians, children, people with disabilities and older people.
In the interest of road safety, be aware of the importance of gaining a good knowledge of this booklet and putting that knowledge to good practice.
The overall aim of this booklet is to promote safety, good driving practice and courtesy in using our roads according to the law. It is an interpretation of the law from a road safety view. If you have a query you should check the legislation or ask a Garda. It covers the road traffic laws currently in force, but it will be updated regularly in the future to take account of new laws.
Important: Road safety policies and laws will work only with the support of all road users. If you do not obey road traffic law, you could face a fine, penalty points or a conviction in court. You might also be disqualified from driving and in some cases have to serve a prison term.
For example, a 5km/h difference in your speed could be the difference between life and death for a vulnerable road user such as a pedestrian.
- Hit by a car at 60 km/h, 9 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
- Hit by a car at 50 km/h, 5 out of 10 of pedestrians will be killed.
- Hit by a car at 30 km/h, 1 out of 10 pedestrians will be killed.
Source: RoSPA UK.
REMEMBER Driving is a life skill that requires lifelong learning.
For up to date information, visit www.rsa.ie.