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Automatic Driving Lessons In North Dublin- Servicing Your Car

Servicing your car annually is essential in keeping your car in good condition. Usually, servicing your car is once a year but if you do a lot of driving, the RSA recommend you do it every 15000 kilometres. Failure to service regularly results in increased wear and tear of your engine, increased fuel consumption and the possibility of engine failure. If you do not service your engine, you will not know if your car needs oil or coolant and if these fluids get too low you are in for a lot of trouble. If your engine has no oil, your engine will cease and if you have no coolant your engine will overheat and could go on fire while you drive.

When you bring your car to a garage and ask for a standard service, you will usually get an oil change, replacement of the spark plugs, top up your coolant and brake fluid levels and they also might fill your windscreen washer fluid level. All of these are essential in engine health.

When you check your oil levels and you see that your oil is dark black, you know you need to replace the oil. Oil, when it is fresh, is usually transparent and you can nearly see through it. After time, when the oil is being churned around the engine, the oil picks up carbon molecules inside the engine turning the oil jet black. When you see this have your oil replaced. You will notice you’re engine sounds much smoother when you do an oil change.

Usually, as the oil is draining out of the tank, the mechanic will change your spark plugs. Usually, you would replace the spark plugs every 60000 kilometres. This is only a guideline and always follow the manufacturer’s specification. Spark plugs are essential in creating the spark which starts your engine.

“Your spark plugs are what supply the spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture, creating the explosion which makes your engine produce power. … Your spark plugs, along with the electrical and timing equipment which powers them, are part of what’s known as your ignition system.” May 21, 2019- Google

During your service, your coolant level will be topped up. Normally your mechanic will not need to drain and replace all the fluid and normally they will fill the tank to the top. Your mechanic will be looking for dirt and grim and if they see this inside your tank there may be another issue that could need addressing. Always keep an eye of coolant levels in between servicing as driving a car with low or no coolant could result in an engine fire at the side of the road.

Your mechanic will also check your brake fluid level. This fluid is not used as much as oil or coolant and sometimes it does not need any fluid. Always check your level before you bring the car to the garage and check the level when you bring the car home. You will know if you need brake fluid when your brakes feel soft and spongy when you press them. If ever you feel this, check your brake fluid levels at once.

Hopefully, you are not driving around with no water in your windscreen washer tank. Keeping this topped up is essential to being able to see out of your windscreen. Your mechanic will top this up for you but you need to keep on top of this yourself. There is nothing worse than a dirty truck driving past and spraying mud onto your windscreen and not being able to clear it.

Always look after your car’s health. It can save you expensive repair jobs and more importantly, it will keep you and other road users safe.

The RSA has a downloadable booklet and it is a great help in looking after your engine. Click here for RSA BOOKLET

Automatic Driving Lessons In North Dublin- Driving In The Rain

When you are driving in the rain, visibility is always poor. To make matters worse, if you have not got your window demisters on, your windows will fog up and you won’t be able to see a thing. Before you start a journey, always make sure your windows are clear and you can see out all of your windows. Always keep a cloth in your car so you can wipe the inside of the windows before you drive. Do not wipe your windows when your car is moving.

So to stop your windows fogging up while you are driving, turn on your demisters. All cars are different and their demisters will be different in the way you use them but the principle is always the same. The windscreen demister is simply directing the car’s temperature controls to the windscreen. To activate this look on your dash for the symbol that looks like the picture below.


In some cars, there is a button and in other cars, you would turn a dial and point the dial at this symbol. Either way, you are activating the windscreen demister. Once activated, this will blow air onto your windscreen and also out your side vents. Always make sure that your side vents are directed at the side windows and not closed or pointing into the car. If the windows are really foggy, turn the air up full and turn your heat on full. Do this until all fog has cleared.

When the windows have cleared, dial down the power of the air and dial down the heat. The air doesn’t have to be really hot once the windows are cleared. Always drive with this setting on and your windows will never fog up again.

When you have this setting on, always make sure you have fresh air coming into the car. The button below shows the air circulation. It usually looks something like this:

When this setting is on it means you are using the same air over and over again. Only use this setting when driving in heavy traffic or you are driving through an area with really bad smells or smoke. Always bring fresh air in through the car by making sure the setting is off.

To demist your back window, select the setting below:

This button will be in every make and model of car and it always demists the rear window. When it is cold or damp outside, always keep this on as your rear window can fog up very quickly.

If you are doing your driving test and the conditions outside are cold and wet, always drive with your demisters on. If you go to do a manoeuvre like reversing around a corner and your rear window is foggy, you will fail your exam for not using the cars secondary controls properly. The tester wants to see you are ready for all aspects of the test and use of secondary controls when needed goes a long way. 


Automatic Driving Lessons In North Dublin-Cockpit Drill

What is the cockpit drill?

The cockpit drill is a sequence of checks which you should carry out whenever you get into your vehicle and intend to drive. The ‘cockpit drill’ includes various safety and comfort checks which are done before turning the vehicle on, these include fastening your seatbelt and adjusting your mirrors. During your driving test, you should perform the cockpit drill at the beginning of your test to ensure you are safe and comfortably positioned to begin your drive.

Why do I have to do the cockpit drill?

The simple answer is that it will help make sure your drive is problem-free. You don’t want to drive off and then remember you aren’t wearing your seatbelt, you also don’t want to get onto the main road only to realise your mirrors aren’t correctly positioned. You should make sure your cockpit drill has been done on the lesson before your practical driving test so you can jump straight into your car and not have performed all of your checks again. Your examiner will realise that you had already been sitting in the vehicle and therefore adjusting the seat/mirrors will not be necessary again.

What do I have to check?

1) Doors – Check your door is shut and that your passengers doors are shut

The reason for this is obvious as you don’t want you or your passengers door to fly open when you take a turn. Check your door by pulling the door handle (not the opening lever) towards you, also ask all your passengers to check their doors.

2) Seat & steering – Adjust your seat according to your size to a safe driving position

You need to be able to reach your foot pedals without stretching, use your left foot to depress the clutch and make sure it goes all the way down to the floor of the car without you feeling you are too close or too far. If you need to adjust your seat, a bar is normally directly under your knees which you should pull up, you should use one hand to hold on to the steering wheel to pull you closer and prevent your seat from flying back. You will also find a recline adjustment in the form of a round dial (usually on the right side of the driver’s seat), you should adjust it so that you aren’t leaned back too far and are generally comfortable with your seat position. You shouldn’t be too close/too far from the steering wheel because this will make steering very tricky. Finally, you need to adjust your head restraint so that the top of your head is level with the top of your head restraint, figure 1 below shows the optimum driving position.

3) Mirrors – Adjust your doors mirrors and your rearview mirror

Your wing-mirrors should give you the best possible view of the situation behind you and from your rearview, you should be able to see out all the back window and being able to see the outline of the interior of your car.

4) Neutral and handbrake.

Once your car’s mirrors are in order, simply check that your car is in neutral and that your handbrake is up.

5) Seatbelt

Now that you know the vehicle is safe, put your seatbelt on, making sure the belt is straight and not twisted. Also, make sure the seatbelt goes over your right shoulder and across your chest. Do not go under your armpit.

Turn the ignition and you are ready to drive.

Automatic Driving Lessons In North Dublin- Parallel Parking

What is parallel parking?

Parallel parking is a means of parking your vehicle parallel to the road, usually in a line of other vehicles.

Typically, you’ll drive your vehicle alongside the one in front of the available space, before reversing it in.

It’s generally considered one of the trickier skills for new drivers to learn, but becomes second nature with practice and can be essential when hunting for a parking space in a busy street after you’ve passed your test.

When do I need to parallel park?

Parallel parking allows you to park in a smaller space than would be possible if you were driving forward into it.

Driving forward into a roadside space is usually only do-able if two spaces in a row are unoccupied.

By reversing in, a driver can take advantage of a single empty space, not too much longer than the car.

Most residential roads accommodate roadside parking as standard, and in town and city centres where space is a premium, parallel parking might be the only option to get a space.

These instructions assume you’re parking on the left-hand side of the road (i.e. with the flow of traffic).

If parking on the right-hand side, the directions are reversed.

This is a general guide and while the principles will remain the same, your driving instructor might have their own preferred methods and reference points for teaching. First things first:

  • Make sure the space you are aiming to park in is big enough.
  • Indicate, then pull up alongside the space and check there’s a minimum of two feet either end.
  • Edge forward slowly, until the centre of your passenger side front window is roughly lined up with the front of the car in front of your space – if it’s facing the same way as you. (If it’s parked facing the opposite way, line up your passenger window with its back bumper).
  • Check your mirrors, and turn to check your blind spot.
  • Once you are happy it is safe, slowly begin reversing, looking behind you over your left shoulder and through the rear windscreen.
  • Slowly reversing now, roughly line up your back tyres with the back bumper of the the car in front of your space.
  • Now apply your handbrake and check your blindspot again, as when you turn to reverse into the space, the front of your car will swing out into the road slightly – so you will need to ensure nothing is coming.
  • If it is safe to do so, turn the steering wheel one complete turn to the left. Keep things nice and steady, concentrating on achieving a full turn.
  • Start slowly reversing, using the nearside mirror to check the position of the kerb, and the rear view mirror to see the vehicle behind you.
  • Once you can see the kerb in your nearside mirror and you’re clear of the car in front, it’s time to stop the car and starting turning the steering wheel to the right.
  • This time, use full lock, bringing the front of your car in towards the kerb. The trick here is fast steering but slow reversing – so quick hands, but steady feet.
  • Straighten up your position on the road, by again turning the steering wheel to the left so the car is reversing back straight.

Driving Lessons In North Dublin- Applying For Your Learner Permit

When you decide you want to learn how to drive, it is not as easy as jumping behind the wheel of a car. There are steps involved that you must take in order to get your driving license. The first step in applying for your license is picking up a copy of The Official Driver Theory Test Questions and Answers book or app. After taking time to study the material, you are now ready to book The Theory Test. You can book the test by calling 1980 606 106 or online When booking your test, have your credit card details and your PPS number. When you are booking you will be asked what category license you wish to hold. A car licence is a B License.

Once you pass The Theory Test, you will receive a pass certificate. Keep this pass certificate safe as you will need it to apply for your Learners Permit. To apply for your Learner Permit, go to

When you book an appointment with the NDLS, you will need a lot of different documents.

  • Fully completed application form for a learner permit D201
  • Original driver theory test pass certificate (dated within two years)
  • Photographic I.D.
  • Proof of your personal public services number (PPSN)
  • Evidence of address dated within the last six months is required if your current address is not recorded on your permit and it differs from that provided to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) if and when you applied for a PSC
  • Evidence of residency entitlement, (if you hold a public services card and your place of birth or nationality are within the European Union/European Economic Area, it is adequate to present the PSC)
  • Fully completed NDLS eyesight report form, dated within three months
  • Fully completed NDLS medical report form, dated within three months, if required in your case
  • Application fee of €35.00

Having all the paperwork in order is essential in applying for your Learner Permit. It can be frustrating at times trying to get it all organized but the rewards are worth it in the end. You need to hold your Learner Permit for 6 months before you can apply for your Full Licence.

Once you have your Learner Permit you are allowed to learn how to drive. Chose an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) from your local area. It is always best to choose local instructors as they will know the roads and the test centre where you will be doing your test. Study the Rules Of The Road Ebook. This book is a step by step guide in learning how to drive and is a great tool for learner drivers.

Choose a sponsor who you think is a safe driver and work with them and help each other along the way. Be patient and document your progress and learning will become fun.

Automatic Driving Lessons In North Dublin Cockpit Drill

After the under the bonnet checks, the tester will ask you to sit in the car. When you sit in the car, the tester will ask you to demonstrate a few simple tasks. The tester will remain outside the car and ask you to turn on your parking light, dipped headlights and full beams. They will ask you to demonstrate both your indicators from the front, left and right. The tester will then walk to the back of your car. As they walk to the back, they are examining your tyres and making sure the car is safe. From the back of the car, they will again ask you to turn on your backlights, demonstrate both indicators and also ask you the press the brake pedal. The tester is checking that all your bulbs are in working order and you also know how to use these controls when they are needed. If you do not know how to use these controls are any bulb is not working, your driving test will be terminated.

Now the tester will get into the car beside you. This is where the tester will ask you to demonstrate the secondary controls and also the cockpit drill. The cockpit drill is basically knowing that you are safe and secure before you start the engine. We naturally do these checks without thinking about them, but you must be able to explain them and why we do them. It is good to rehearse your answers and answer them in an order you can remember.

The first part of the cockpit drill is making sure your door is closed securely. I can’t stress this enough. That is the first part of the cockpit drill and if the tester asks you to explain the cockpit drill I would start here. You can explain to the tester that you would make sure my door is closed securely to avoid it opening while driving.

After we say that the door is closed securely, we would talk about our seat position. We would say that we would adjust our seat so that we can see out the windows, reach the pedals comfortably and also be able to reach the steering wheel comfortably.

As you can see from the diagram, we would have a gentle bend in the elbows and gentle bend in the knees. You don’t want to be reaching the pedals or stretching out to the steering wheel. This can be very uncomfortable and can be dangerous. It is essential that you can see out the windows and reach the controls.

After the seat is in position, it is time to adjust the mirrors. We always adjust our mirrors after we adjust the seat. First, we adjust the inside mirror. We can hold it with both hands and gently adjust it so that you can see out the whole back window

This is an excellent diagram as it shows in the interior mirror the whole of the back window and also you can see the rim of the inside of your own car. This is a perfect position as you can see everything out your back window. Next is the wing mirrors. All cars are different and usually there is a toggle on the driver’s door that is used to adjust the wing mirrors. We would adjust the wing mirrors so that we can see the back corner of our own car, usually aim for the back door handle. This is the perfect position to get the best view of traffic behind.

After we have adjusted our mirrors, we would simply say “from here I would check to see if my car is in neutral and that my handbrake is up.” If you are driving an automatic, instead of having the car in neutral, you would say “I would make sure my car is in Park mode.” We do this to make sure the car is secured for when we start the engine. If the car is in gear and we don’t check this and turn the key the car will jump forward. This could be disastrous for your test.

Last on the cockpit drill is your seatbelt. Always wear your seat belt and always make sure it is fastened securely. Now that you have explained all these the tester will ask you to start the ignition and you are ready to drive.

Automatic Driving Lessons In North Dublin Staying Calm

Learning how to drive can be a very nerve-racking experience. As a new driver, there is a lot of information to learn all at once. This can seem very daunting and learner drivers can be highly anxious and stressed before they start their lesson. This is understandable of course, when, as a learner driver you see the whole picture of driving down busy roads using the clutch and brake and so on, it can be information overload. It is very important to break the driving experience down into manageable pieces. The RSA has designed the EDT Course to help with this. The EDT Course breaks the driving skills down into separate lessons. Only when a learner driver feels comfortable with the basic lessons like moving off and stopping, will they be allowed to go onto more advanced situations. So instead of thinking about the whole picture, thinking about small steps at a time can ease learner drivers mind.

Keeping calm when you are learning any new skill is the best way to learn. It can be easy to get flustered and not take the information in. When the driver feels like this, the lesson could be wasted as they cannot learn the technique needed to progress with their lesson. There are many skills and techniques you could use to focus your mind and I will share some of these with you know.

If I ever feel anxious or worried about something, thinking about it will not make it go away. One of the best ways to relax your mind and your heart rate is through deep breathing. This technique has been used for generations and everybody from sports stars to yoga instructors and even monks when they are meditating use this to quiet their mind and feel relaxed. Doing this before you get into the car with your instructor, in my opinion, is the best way to get ready to learn. Also, tell yourself that learning how to drive is easy for you and tell yourself you are confident works too. Always go into your lessons knowing you can do it and it is easy for you.

Another way to give yourself the best possible experience is being prepared. Being early for your lesson is the best way to be prepared. When you are late and you might have rushed to your lesson, your brain is working on overdrive and you are busy thinking about being late rather than focusing on the lesson ahead. Sometimes, this can’t be helped and arranging your lessons when you have free time is the best. When booking a lesson, it is wise to give yourself time after work. If you finish at 5 and book your lesson at 5:30 and you live 30 minutes away from where the lesson is taking place, that is a big rush and concentration will be extremely low. Always give yourself plenty of time to organise your thoughts.

Sometimes there can be personal problems and you cannot give your full attention. It is always wise to call ahead and maybe reschedule your lesson as trying to learn when there is something on your mind is very difficult. As your driving instructor, we want the best experience for you and usually, we can accommodate you. Always give as much notice as you can so we can fit another student in on that particular day.

Another way is to relax. We are here to help you. Don’t feel like you’re going to say the wrong thing as there are no wrong answers. You are here to learn and the more relaxed you are the more fun the learning experience.

Practice what you learned in previous lessons and keep the information relevant in your head and learning how to drive will be a fun experience for you.

Automatic Driving Lessons In North Dublin – Unaccompanied Drivers

Since December 2018 the law governing unaccompanied drivers changed. Because unaccompanied learners can lead to unaccompanied lives.

If an unaccompanied learner is detected, the vehicle they are driving can be seized. If the driver is not the owner, the car is liable to be seized, and the owner is also subject to a fine of up to €1000.

This is all on top of the existing arrangements, whereby an unaccompanied learner faces a fine and penalty points.

Now, if you are a learner or if you let one drive unaccompanied, you will face the consequences.

A learner permit is not a licence. Learners have not passed a driving test. As inexperienced and unqualified drivers they’re a risk to themselves and other road users. And we all must work together to make sure that no unaccompanied learner can create an unaccompanied hole in someone else’s life.

Creating awareness of unaccompanied driver legislation.

Noel Clancy, from Kilworth, Co. Cork was used to a family life full of chatter and laughter. All that ended on the morning of 22 December 2015, when his wife Geraldine and daughter Louise were hit, when driving into Cork City, by an unaccompanied learner driver. They were killed, and Noel was forced to pick up the broken pieces. His message is that if you let a learner drive unaccompanied, you’re putting them, and everyone on the road in the gravest of risks. And the consequences of those risks is a life where he’ll never see his life partner and young daughter ever again.

The RSA campaign which featured Noel Clancy aired in December 2018 and during 2019 and included a 60 second TV advertisement and 30 second radio ad. 

“Our lives are destroyed, our family torn apart, our hearts are broken”

Noel Clancy’s heartbreaking victim impact statement is reproduced here in full, detailing his love for his wife and daughter, and his immense grief

I FOUND it hard and painful to sit down and write this victim impact statement. It is just not possible to put into words the impact that the defendant’s dangerous driving and the resulting collision has had on my life.

Most people wake from a nightmare but I wake every morning to a nightmare. A real nightmare.

The pain in the pit of my stomach is hard to believe. I was in hospital in May for tests to see if there was a medical explanation. There wasn’t. Stress, grief, heartbreak, loss — take your pick. Every morning I have to grit my teeth and go farming.

The pain is there all the time, the unbearable loss is there all the time; morning, noon, and especially at night. I sit at the kitchen table and look at the empty chairs.

I listen to the silence, a silence broken only by the clock ticking on the wall. My wife and daughter are dead aged 58 and 22. They are in their grave for eternity. I will never see them again.

Their headstone has been engraved in the past while. It really has happened. Their lives are over. It’s written in stone.

I first met Geraldine Aherne when I was 19, it took 10 months to get the courage to ask her out. Our first date was on July 20, 1980. From that day until December 22, 2015, the day she was killed, we were a team. We were some team.

We got engaged on August 16, 1984, in Galway, a city we grew to love as we holidayed so often in the west. We then set about planning and building a home. We were married on September 5, 1986, and honeymooned in Italy. It was idyllic.

We always planned to return to Rome. We threw coins in the Trevi Fountain and wished to return. We were never in a rush, there would always be time. Rome would always be there but we ran out of time.

On return we moved in to our new home and a new life together. A life we loved for over 29 magical years, three wonderful children: Declan, Fiona, and Louise. Hard work, holidays, health scares, GAA matches, sibling weddings, and parent funerals.

We laughed together and cried together. We had a happy home — a lovely home full of life, laughter, and music. The kids grew up, secondary school, university, Declan got a job in Galway, Fiona in Dublin, Louise in UCC in 2013 and moved into student accommodation. It was Geraldine and myself again. It was like the old days, just us two. We went on holidays in 2013 and 2014 to Spain, just us two. Had a wonderful time, just us, in love as deeply as we were on our honeymoon. JUST US 2.

When I lost Geraldine I lost everything. My girlfriend, my wife, my life partner, my lover, the mother of my children, and my best friend. All the things we did together, all the things we talked about, all the decisions we made together, big and small, on farm and off farm.

The holidays, the road trips to Wales, Donegal, Kerry, and Scotland. The weekends in the Marina Hotel in Waterford to celebrate her birthday on December 15. All lost. The magical Christmases of the past replaced last year by a visit to a funeral home and this year to a cemetery.

If I lost the past with Geraldine, I lost the future with Louise, because of her struggles with autism and her determination to overcome every obstacle. Nobody deserved a bright, happy, safe and rewarding future more than Louise.

Because of her craft with words, her sense of fun, her moral compass, and her sheer good nature. Everybody knew Louise, everybody loved Louise. Louise was always in a rush to see things and get things done. She was born two weeks early at 4pm on August 1, 1993.

The night she swallowed mucus, choked, and turned blue, was put into an incubator, and recovered. That event, we were later told, was responsible for Louise’s autism. Nothing came easy to Louise. Slow to walk and slow to talk as a baby, it became apparent that she would not be able to go to mainstream national school.

Instead she spent three years in Scoil Triest in Glanmire. There, with the dedication of the fantastic staff and the home tuition by Geraldine, Louise bloomed and in 2001 was able to return to mainstream education in Kilworth National School, on to secondary school in Loreto, Fermoy, and then to UCC to study English and sociology and then the big adventure to study at Sussex University in Brighton.

She had everything planned out ahead. A year in England, then in July last travelling to North Carolina with her American boyfriend to meet his parent and then back to UCC for her final year.

Her whole life lay ahead. Sadly, all her plans died with her on December 22. Geraldine and myself went to Brighton in November 2015 to visit Louise. We were afraid that she hadn’t settled in; we need not have worried, she was running the place.

Writing for The Badger newspaper and working as a presenter and editor for the Sussex University TV station. For the first time I realised that her dreams of being a journalist would become a reality.

As we waited in Gatwick Airport for our return flight to Cork I said to Geraldine that when Louise would be working as a journalist she would not be found reporting on the local GAA and soccer matches but instead be found in war zones and disaster areas.

I could see her with the students in Tiananmen Square. I could imagine her in the townships in South Africa during the apartheid days. I could hear her telling the story of the Kurds on the Iraq/Turkey border and being with the civil rights marchers on the bogside on Bloody Sunday.

That’s where Louise would be. Telling the story of the oppressed and the downtrodden, the persecuted and the hungry, the sick and the homeless. “The pen is mightier than the sword, Dad.” She told me remember that. I remember Lou, I remember.

People tell me that there is a road ahead, I don’t see it. They tell me there are better days, I can’t see them. They tell me that the sun will shine again. I don’t believe them.

I’m going to a wonderful woman for counselling. She urges me to take one day at a time, one moment at a time, one step at a time. And even that is hard to do.

For the past 11 years I’ve been in a very successful dairy farm partnership with my neighbour. That partnership is coming to an end on December 31. I have been farming on autopilot for the past 11 months and I have decided that without the everyday practical and business support of Geraldine, I could not continue in the partnership, therefore I will sell my cows in January and instead farm less intensively, with beef animals only.

WHAT happened on December 22, 2015, changed everything. That day was the worst day in the history of the world from my point of view and yet it started off an ordinary quiet day.

After all the rain it was a quiet sunny morning. Nothing exciting happened on the farm, winding down for Christmas. At breakfast Geraldine told me she would be driving Louise to Fermoy to catch the bus to Cork.

Louise needed to return a book to UCC. I drove the tractor to the out farm and fed the cattle. I spoke to Geraldine briefly at 10 to 11. The call lasted 49 seconds. Little did I know it would be the last time we spoke.

Less than a half an hour later, when the firemen pulled them from the car, I did not recognise them. They were blue and purple from the cold water. It was only when I read the number plate of the car that I knew it was Geraldine and Louise.

The firemen fought for them as they lay on the road, they tried everything. I knew Louise was dead but I had great hope for Geraldine. When Dr Vander Velde told me they were both dead I was stunned. I was plunged into a living nightmare.

The shock was indescribable. I had to tell Fiona, I had to phone Declan and Geraldine’s brother Owen. There were guards everywhere. I had to phone Louise’s boyfriend. I had to identify the bodies to a guard. Fr Leahy came from Kilworth and administered the last rites. It was surreal but unfortunately it was all too real.

Fiona and I were driven back home. People came in droves, it was overwhelming. Friends, relatives, neighbours. Declan and Ciara came from Cork. I wanted to go back to the crash scene but the guards wouldn’t let me. My wife and daughter lay in bodybags on the cold hard road. God almighty.

We had to plan the funeral with Fr Leahy and the undertaker. Little did I know when I woke up that morning I would be planning half my family’s funeral by nightfall. The house was full of people, time meant nothing. Somebody told me I should go to bed. I replied that I would wait until tonight only to be told it was 2am already.

The next morning, we went to the funeral home to choose the coffins. Dark wood with the Last Supper engraving. I told undertaker James Ronayne that I would take two. He replied nobody else had to ask him for two before.

That evening the rosary was said in the funeral home. When we went in and saw the coffins side by side my heart broke. I pushed the coffins apart and knelt between them and put my left hand on Geraldine’s clasped hand, my right hand on Louise’s, and cried for my wife and daughter.

On Christmas Eve the wake started at 7pm and lasted for five hours. People came from far and near and from different times of my life. Geraldine’s friends and work colleagues, Louise’s friends from school and university. They cried and cried. “How can Lou be dead? Lou who loved life, she can’t be dead.” It was awful. It was the most traumatic night of my life.

On Christmas Day the undertaker asked me a question I hope that he never has to ask anyone again. “Which coffin will we lower first?”

While most people were enjoying Christmas with their families, I was trying to make a decision.

I phoned him and told him we would lower Geraldine first and place Louise back in her arms.

On St Stephen’s Day the rain poured down. We said our goodbyes before the lids were placed on the coffins. I was married to Geraldine for 29 years and three-and-a-half months — or 10,705 days to be exact — and I would have traded a lot of those days for just one minute to say goodbye. Instead I kissed her lips stone cold. I thanked her for the life she shared with me and I asked her to mind Louise, as if she needed asking. There was never a mother as devoted to a child as Geraldine was to Louise.

All I could think of as they were carried out to the hearses was how is this happening?

In Kilworth the church was packed. The Mass began. Hymns, prayers, I was in a daze. All I could see were the two coffins with Louise and Geraldine’s photos on top. The procession of gifts, communion, Declan’s eulogy, and then the singers sang Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’. Louise was a huge fan. The tears flowed down my face. I could see Louise singing and playing her guitar.

The words might well be the story of road collisions in Ireland. How many deaths will it take to know that too many people have died? The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind.

As we moved off, two hearses, guards at every crossroad, past the crash scene. As they paused outside our home by the road the memories of other homecomings came rushing back: Our return from honeymoon, the days our newborn children came home for the first time.

Returning from victorious GAA matches and blowing the horn as we turned in the gate. How I wished for those days. Instead it was on to St Michael’s cemetery in my native Ballyduff. Fermoy and Kilworth had cried with us and cried for us, now it was Ballyduff’s turn. They were waiting for us and they wrapped their arms around us. Seeing the coffins lowered into the grave was the worst. It was over. They were gone. They were both gone forever.

Whatever sentence the defendant is given here today will pale into insignificance compared to the life sentence we are living. A sentence which says I will never see my wife and daughter again. It haunts me that Geraldine and Louise were killed in such a senseless manner. Trapped upside down in their car, screaming for help, screaming for their lives as they drowned in the water.

I pass the crash scene every day. I stop, every day. I stand there for hours on end and wonder how was it possible for this to happen. It cost me my beloved wife and daughter, it cost Declan and Fiona their mother and sister. I wonder has the defendant any idea of the extent of the devastation she has inflicted on our family.

Our lives are destroyed, our family torn apart, our hearts are broken, and at this time in my broken heart I can not find the strength to forgive.

‘I can’t escape horror of losing them both’

Published on RSA page. The reality of driving unaccompanied

Automatic Driving Lessons In North Dublin – Mirrors

During your driving test, the tester will be watching you closely to see how and when you use your mirrors. Checking your mirrors frequently helps you understand what is behind you at all times. All traffic situations are different and you never know what could be coming up behind you. There can he bicycles coming up the inside, a motorbike on the outside or even an emergency vehicle coming up from behind. When you know what is behind, you can position your car safely at all times.

As you drive along a straight road with not many hazards or activity ahead, check each individual mirror every 3 seconds or so. We would check our left-wing mirror and then look ahead onto the road, then 3 seconds later we would glance at our inside mirror and then straight ahead and then 3 seconds later our right-wing mirror and then straight ahead. You see how it is one quick glance in each individual mirror but then looking straight back into the road you are driving on. Keep it in order like so, this helps you check all your mirrors evenly.

When turning left and right mirrors play a large role in helping you complete the turns safely. If the tester asks you to turn left, this is your cue to check your mirrors. You would start by checking your inside mirror and then your left wing mirror. Then you would signal and position the car safely. If it was a T junction you were turning left on, before you move off and complete the turn, again you would have a good look in the left-wing mirror to make sure nobody was coming up the inside. After you look right and left onto the road you will be entering, again quick glance into the left-wing mirror and proceed if safe to do so. When you join the new road, check all your mirrors. We have a saying “new road, new mirror.”

When the tester asks you to turn right, again the same principles apply. Check the inside mirror and then right-wing mirror and when it is safe to do, indicate right and move into a good road position. Before you move off, look in all 3 mirrors from left to right to see if there is anything coming up from behind. It the road ahead is clear, move off and pick up a safe road position. Once in position “new road, new mirrors.”

During the test, anything can happen and you may need to overtake a broken down vehicle or cyclists or whatever it may be. This is a great test of your skills and doing this competently will impress the tester. Use of the mirrors here is crucial. Before you get to the hazard, check your mirrors all around before you signal. When the way is clear overtake the hazard but when you move back into your lane, check your inside mirror and left-wing mirror before you indicate and move back in.

All driving scenarios in the test require you to use your mirrors at all times. When driving on a straight constantly look into the mirrors and let the tester know you are looking by moving your head. If you are looking into your mirrors by adjusting your eyes and not moving your head, the tester may not see this and will mark you poorly for your observation or could even fail you.