As Roads get Busier Motorists Must Prepare To Share Space, AA Warns

As the easing of COVID-19 restrictions continues, major routes across the country have seen traffic levels return to approximately 75% of normal volumes according to AA Ireland.

With the potential that traffic volumes could increase further as the country enters Phase 3 of the Government’s plan, the AA is urging motorists to exercise additional caution when driving due to an increase in cyclists and pedestrians during the lockdown period.

Among the routes analysed by the AA, traffic levels this week on the N83 in Claregalway has seen the largest return in traffic – reaching 86% of volumes seeing during the same week in 2019. Similarly, traffic volumes on the M50, M11 and N7 were all at or above 75% of last year’s volume.

While the morning commute is quieter than before the COVID-19 outbreak, a pattern seen during summer months in previous years as well, volumes are building later in the morning with the evening rush hour having largely returned. In particular, weekend traffic volumes have seen a significant increase since the last weekend of May.

“The fact that schools are closed along with the large number of people working from home means that the morning rush hour hasn’t fully returned quite yet, but generally speaking traffic levels are moving closer and closer to pre-COVID levels as we progress through the government’s post-lockdown plan. We expect that roads will be busier again from next week as people undertake trips to visit family and friends they may not have seen for months or take a short holiday in Ireland as the hotels re-open,” 
Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated. “One that that we would stress is that motorists need to prepare for a very different driving experience than they have been used to pre-COVID.”

“One of the potential positives that seems to be emerging from the outbreak is a greater allocation of space to pedestrians and cyclists, an important step in making sure our roads are safe for all users. However, motorists must also do their part in keeping vulnerable road users safe by reducing their speed accordingly, avoiding dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, and allowing additional space wherever possible.”

For those potentially planning a lengthy trip as we enter Phase 3, the AA has repeated the importance of keeping your car’s service history up to date and the importance of carrying out car safety checks at home. Currently the organisation’s Rescue service is attending to an average of over 250 breakdowns every day and expects this could rise further as travel distances increase.

“Many of us have been using our cars less in recent weeks and only for short journeys. Before you set off on a longer journey to visit loved ones, it’s important that you carry out a basic safety check of your vehicle to ensure your tyres are in good condition and your lights are working correctly. If possible, it would even be a good idea to have a professional check that your brakes are in working order,”
 Faughnan added. “Doing so will keep you and your family safe while travelling, but also plays an important role in keeping other road users safe.”

Traffic Volumes based on TII Data collated by AA Ireland.

  Last week


Increase on previous week % of same week in 2019 This week (Mon & Tues) Change on last week (Mon-Wed)
M50 (J7-J9) 125700 6.1% 76% 124736 1.3%
N7 (J8) 69600 5.4% 77% 69767 2.2%
N4 (J6-J7) 47023 4.9% 71% 46628 1.5%
M11 J5 57083 7.1% 75% 56776 0.7%
N40 (J10) 59039 4.5% 77% 56324 -1.7%
N83 Claregalway 16826 3.5% 86% 16129 -1.1%
BnaD, Galway 20550 4.5% 77% 19888 -0.2%
N21 (Adare) 12300 4.0% 67% 12166 2.6%
N14 Lifford 10409 4.3% 76% 9931 0.3%
N1 Jonesborough 17761 9.1% 64% 17782 3.6%

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