“Last Christmas Day, the lowest December air temperature ever in Ireland was measured as -17.5°C at Straide, Co. Mayo” says Aoife Carragher, Head of AA Roadwatch. “This year temperatures are expected to hover around a balmy 10°C for the big day, and while motorists will be much more confident as they set out on their journey home for Christmas, it is still vital to keep road safety at the forefront of our minds during the festive period.
“The most important advice for drivers as they set out on their journey home this Christmas is to remember that thousands of other people are planning to do the exact same thing! Allow yourself plenty of time for your journey, be patient, stay alert when making long trips and abide by the speed limits.”
The volume of motorists on the roads in the days coming up to Christmas is reflected in the fact that AA Patrols experienced a 52% increase in breakdown calls last Christmas Eve, something which is the norm each year.
Those taking to the roads are reminded that since last Christmas drink driving limits have been reduced and will be forcefully policed by An Garda Síochana. The changes, which bring Irish law into line with European levels, have seen the limit drop from 80mg to 50mg for most drivers. The advice in this area doesn’t change: never ever drink and drive, and do not get behind the wheel the day after drinking until you are certain it is safe to do so.
There are lots of events and sporting fixtures taking place across the country over the Christmas break including both the Leopardstown and Limerick Racing festivals beginning on St Stephen’s Day and two Pro 12 matches also taking place on the 26th reports AA Roadwatch. “All of these events are expected to attract large crowds, especially considering the fact that many loyal attendees have missed out on these events last year because of the weather.” advises Carragher.
Funderland, an Irish institution, will take place from the 26th and AA Roadwatch reminds anyone heading to the Leinster Pro 12 match at the RDS on the same day that parking will be reduced as a result.
For those heading to the Leopardstown Festival, AA Roadwatch also advises that there is limited free parking on site, however a shuttle bus is available on race-days from the Sandyford Luas stop and from the Carrickmines Park and Ride. Bus Éireann is providing a service from Busáras on race days also.
“Dublin city centre is the place to be for New Year’s Eve as the first ever NYE Dublin festival will take place from Friday 30th December until Sunday 1st January.” Says Carragher. “The main event is on Saturday 31st and College Green will close from 2pm on Saturday 31st December until 6:30am on Sunday 1st January to facilitate the festivities.”
“The AA Roadwatch team won’t have their feet up in front of the fire over Christmas! We’ll be here watching the roads everyday. Keep an eye on www.aaroadwatch.ie or follow @aaroadwatch on Twitter.”
AA Patrols who attend an average of 160 call outs on Christmas day each will also be on hand to make sure that a breakdown doesn’t spoil the festive fun for AA Members this year.