Motorway Driving

Please explain the rules that apply when driving on a motorway. My son holds a learner permit and I believe he should not be driving on a motorway. I am concerned that he may find himself in difficulty with the Gardai if he is caught. Please explain who may or may not drive on a motorway and also the rules for motorway driving.

 Specific rules apply regarding motorway driving. The following may not enter a motorway:

  • Learner drivers or those who do not hold a full licence for the category of vehicle they are driving;
  • Vehicles that cannot travel at a speed of at least 50km per hour;
  • Vehicles with an engine capacity of 50cc or less;
  • Vehicles using inflated tyres;
  • Pedestrians or cyclists

The rules for motorway driving indicate that the inside lane should be used for normal driving. You should stay in this lane unless you are overtaking. The outside lane should only be used for overtaking and you should return to the inside lane once you have finished overtaking and it is safe to do so.  You may also move into the outside lane to allow vehicles coming from your left to join the motorway.

You should not use the outside lane if you are driving:

  • a goods vehicle with a design gross weight of more than 3,500 kilogrammes such as a lorry or heavy goods vehicle (HGV);
  • a passenger vehicle with seating for more than eight passengers;


  • a vehicle towing a trailer, horsebox or caravan.


Pedestrians hit by a car…

at 30 km/h – 1 in 10 will die

at 50 km/h – 5 in 10 will die

at 60 km/h – 9 in 10 will die

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