Driving a Hire Car in Northern Ireland: What You Should Know

If you are renting a car in Northern Ireland, it is worth bearing in mind that the rules governing driving are not the same as those that apply in the Republic of Ireland. There are many similarities (driving on the left-hand side of the road being the most obvious one!), but, because Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, U.K. laws apply.

northern irelandBefore you drive off in your rental car in Northern Ireland, bear in mind the following:

Speed limits and distances are posted in miles in Northern Ireland.

Traffic signs are more in line with international standards in Northern Ireland than they are in the Republic. Signs for places of interest are black with white lettering. (In the Republic they are brown with white lettering).

Speed limits are 30 mph for built-up areas, 60 mph for single carriageways, and 70 mph for dual carriageways and motorways.

If you are renting a car and plan to cross the border with it, you should inform the rental company. You should also ensure that the speedometer in your rental car shows both kilometres and miles.

The quality of roads in Northern Ireland is generally high, so you should enjoy driving your rental car here. If you are not comfortable with urban driving, however, you should probably avoid Belfast.

Note that seat belts must be worn in the front and the rear of the vehicle and children under the age of 12 are not allowed to sit in the front passenger seat.

You are forbidden from using a handheld mobile phone while driving.

Drink driving is a serious offence, punishable by a heavy fine, loss of licence, and even imprisonment. The blood/alcohol limit in Northern Ireland is 0.08. (The Republic’s equivalent is 0.05).

Have your valid driver’s licence and vehicle documentation available for inspection.

For more detaile information, read the full list of rules of the road in Northern Ireland.

Now that you have familiarised yourself with driving in Northern Ireland, you are well prepared to arrange your Northern Ireland car hire.