Madam, - There is a very dangerous and overlooked driving habit that is all too present on our roads today.
This irritating habit receives absolutely no attention from the authorities, nor is this rule taken seriously by drivers in Ireland.
I am referring to the illegal use of the overtaking lane on our dual carriageways and motorways. Despite what many drivers believe, this lane is only to be used for overtaking slower-moving traffic, and once you have completed this manoeuvre you must pull back into the standard lane at the earliest convenience.
This point is crucial to understand: regardless of the speed you are travelling at, whether it be under or in excess of the limit, you are not permitted under any circumstances (except in heavy traffic) to drive in the overtaking lane, because as the name suggests it will not be a correct use of the road, and it will also prevent other drivers from using it as intended.
However, some may ask why is this infuriating example of poor driving ability so dangerous?
The reason is that it forces traffic that wishes to get ahead of the driver illegally occupying the overtaking lane to "undertake" the car in question.
This in itself is also illegal, but necessary if traffic wishes to get past.
Furthermore, if a car matches speed with another travelling in the standard lane (which I have seen happen frequently), it in effect creates a moving road block.
On the M50 for example, this can cause a large block of moving traffic to slow down considerably, also causing great anger to other road users.
The Republic is the only country that I know of where this habit is so inherent on our roads. Even in the North of Ireland, drivers use the dual-carriageways as intended.
In a time when we are opening more and more high-capacity roads, it is crucial that drivers understand how to correctly use them, so as not to create needless traffic problems.
So I plead with people that may read this letter to educate yourselves on the correct use of dual-carriageway roads; refer to The Rules of the Road or The Driver Theory Test Book. - Yours, etc.,
JOHN CURTIS , Dublin 16.