Apparently, the Republic of Ireland uses some road signs that are more like in US and Canada than like the rest of Europe. Speed limits and distances are posted in metric.

Apart from those two points, are there any significant differences in driving rules between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland?

1 Answer 1


As you’ve noted already – measurements are different (km versus miles). So be you will need to squint at your speedo if it’s in miles as the km markers can be harder to see (and less –precise if they are smaller than the MPH markers).

In terms of other stuff, because of the open border, it’s generally seamless. There are a few minor points which apply to Ireland:

  1. Warning signs – Ireland uses black on yellow, and black on white with red border for regulatory signage.

  2. Irish/English language, most signs are in both. English is in CAPITALS, Irish in Title Case italics

  3. Alcohol levels are 0.05mg/ml in Ireland, versus 0.08mg/ml in UK. Different level for professional drivers.

  4. Traffic light sequencing is slightly different in Ireland. Green – Amber – RED – Green. (no “amber, start revving your engine!” option before it goes green).

  5. In Ireland, signage colours indicate the type of road (White on Blue = motorway; white on green, with road names in yellow = national road (like an A road); everything else is black on white. White on Brown is tourist sites/site of interest.

  6. UK cars driving in Ireland, if they don’t have the EU stars on their number plates, must have a GB sticker (but I have never seen this enforced).

  7. If you’re renting a car in Ireland/Northern Ireland, be alive to the insurance wheeze that some rental companies use – charging €12/day for insuring you to cross the border. Do check the policy before renting if you plan on crossing a border.

EDIT: here's another difference I discovered this morning.

  1. Whilst car seats and booster seats are mandatory in Ireland and the UK, the point where a child may transition to a seatbelt is different. In the UK a child may use just a seat belt when they reach 135cm or age 12 (whichever comes first). In Ireland, it's 150cm AND more than 35kg. There's no age when seatbelts are permitted (but the law refers to "children", so presumably when the individual reaches 18, if they're still below the height and weight, they can transition to seatbelts).
  • Which jurisdiction uses the amber-start-revving aspect?
    – phoog
    Nov 12, 2018 at 15:33
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    @phoog from the context I'd assume they're takling about UK traffic lights, which show red and amber simultaneously before turning green.
    – Chris H
    Nov 12, 2018 at 15:43
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    @ChrisH I see. I was not aware of that (despite having driven in England a few years ago; I did not remember whether that sequence was in use there). Similarly, item 5 in the list does not identify which country it applies to. Is it describing the practice in Ireland or the UK?
    – phoog
    Nov 12, 2018 at 16:21
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    #5 is not a difference, the same colours are used in the UK
    – Nick C
    Nov 13, 2018 at 10:26
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    2) There are also areas where there is Irish (language) only signage. You might see for example "go mall" instead of "slow" or "an daingean" instead of Dingle. coisfarraige.com/Road_signs/Real/Irish_Road_sign8_Dinglex3.jpg Note the dual language signs pointing to towns in majority English language areas and the Irish only sign pointing to the town in a majority Irish language area.
    – user59310
    Dec 13, 2018 at 10:47

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