Skip to Content
How to drive on the motorway in Ireland How to drive on the motorway in Ireland

AA Car Insurance

How to drive on the motorway in Ireland

Published 23rd February 2024Read Time 4 min

How many times have you seen someone sit in the wrong lane on the motorway, holding up traffic and slowing everyone else down?

Driving on the motorway in Ireland is subject to specific rules and regulations designed to ensure the safety and efficiency of road travel. Understanding which lane to use is fundamental for both new drivers and seasoned motorists. 

Let’s go over the basics!

In Ireland, traffic flows on the left-hand side of the road, and this principle extends to motorway driving of course. Motorways are multi-lane roads designed for fast-moving traffic, with multiple lanes in each direction. The basic rule for lane usage on Irish motorways is to keep to the left lane unless overtaking. 

What is the inside lane for?

The inside lane is considered the driving lane, where vehicles should remain when not actively overtaking or allowing for merging traffic. This lane is suitable for vehicles travelling at or below the maximum speed limit, which is generally 120km/h on Irish motorways, unless otherwise indicated. Drivers should use this lane as their default position during their journey. 

What is the middle and outside lane for?

The middle and outside lanes are designated for overtaking. Once a driver has overtaken another vehicle, they are required to return to the inside lane when it is safe to do so. This practice prevents “lane hogging,” which can lead to congestion and increased risk of accidents. 

If you are overtaking, watch your speed, and always obey the speed limits. Another benefit of driving slower is that you will save money. And remember, you can get 3c per litre off at participating Circle K garages by using the AA App. It only takes a few moments to download and set up. You don’t even have to be a Member!

Motorway Exits

Drivers should be particularly mindful of the rules when approaching exits. If you are taking an exit, prepare in advance by positioning your vehicle in the inside lane. This preparation helps to avoid last-minute lane changes, which can be dangerous and disruptive to other road users.

What about HGVs?

It is also worth noting that heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and trailers have restrictions on which lanes they can use on three-lane motorways. Typically, these vehicles are not allowed in the far right lane, helping to keep the overtaking lane clear for faster-moving traffic. They can use them in exceptional circumstances such as if lanes 1 and 2 have obstructions.

If you want to know a lot more detail about driving on the motorway, then check out the Road Safety Authority’s Comprehensive guide.

Unfortunately, accidents do happen sometimes. AA Ireland Car Insurance has a whole host of benefits, including giving you extra discounts when you buy multiple products from us such as AA Membership