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‘Be a team player on the road to Croker’

In a month that has seen devastating events take place on Irish roads, Road Safety officials have teamed up with the GAA, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, An Garda Síochána and Road Safe Northern Ireland asking road users to become team players on the road to Croke park ahead of the All Ireland final this weekend.

As the Management of the Tyrone and Mayo teams announce their plans and changes for Saturday’s game, supporters travelling to the game are being asked to make plans of their own to ensure a safer journey to and from the match for everyone.

Road Safety officials have teamed up with the GAA, PSNI, An Garda Síochána, Road safety NI with Croke Park backing the joint campaign, which is being led by Road Safety Officers in both County Councils.

The ‘Be a team player on the road to Croker’ campaign asks motorists and passengers to make a personal commitment to drive at appropriate and legal speeds in a bid to tackle concerns about speeding in local communities and a special appeal will be made at the big match on Saturday for all the fans to drive with care.

Local authorities have warned those travelling to the game to ‘guard against complacency’ when it comes to fatigue as thousands of families plan their trips to Croke park which could involve several hundred miles of driving. The road safety officials say tiredness increases the risk of a collision as drivers become less aware of what’s happening around them, and a fatigued drivers’ ability to react is impaired if a risky situation develops.

They point to statistics which show that fatigue can be a factor in up to 20% of all road collisions, and up to 25% of fatal and serious crashes.

They are urging drivers to make sure they are properly rested before heading off on a long journey and offering tips to reduce the risk of a fatigue-related collision.

The tips include taking a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or 100 miles.

Mayo Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon said, “Saturday’s All-Ireland football final appearance for Mayo will be a very special occasion for all in the county and there will be great excitement in the lead up to the game.  An Garda Síochána wants this year’s final be a great occasion for everyone but we are urging those using the roads this weekend to take special care.

There have been three fatal road traffic collisions and 11 serious injury traffic collisions in the Mayo Garda Division up to September 8, this year.  Each of these collisions have caused heartache and loss in our community.  An Garda Síochána is reminding those using our roads this weekend to act responsibly.  Any road death is one too many and An Garda Síochána will continue to work together with our partners in road safety to reduce road deaths.

We know emotions will be running high in the run up to All Ireland final day and in particular on the day, but we remind every road user that there is no place on our roads for people who do not comply with legislation.  We are urging those travelling this Saturday to not just think about their own safety, but the safety of their families and loved ones, and the safety of all roads users.

Comply with the speed limits.  Never ever drink and drive or drive after consuming drugs.  We are appealing to all road users to be extra vigilant this weekend and help make our roads safer.

In addition to this, we must remember as we continue to live with Covid- 19 that we protect ourselves and those around us from serious illness.  Much has been done to reduce the rate of infection in our communities and so I am also appealing to football supporters to behave in a responsible manner this weekend.  Continue to listen to the public health advice, observe all Covid- 19 guidelines, and let’s make this a safe and enjoyable experience for all involved”.

Noel Gibbons,  Road Safety Officer in the  Communications Department of Mayo County Council also commented on the campaign saying: “A fatigue-related crash is around 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury, simply because a driver who has fallen asleep at the wheel will be unable to reduce speed or change direction to avoid a collision.

No one simply falls asleep without passing through various recognisable stages of tiredness and distraction.

You will experience difficulty focusing on the driving task, you may fidget, yawn constantly and rub your eyes frequently.  When more serious levels of fatigue set in, you may find your thoughts constantly wandering away from driving, you may drift to the left or right, you may be slowing down without realising and you’ll suddenly find you cannot recall anything that happened in the past few minutes.

At this stage, your driving performance is seriously impaired, and it’s vital that you stop somewhere safe as soon as possible.  A power nap and/or a caffeine-based drink can provide a short-term fix, but they should never be used as an acceptable substitute for proper rest.  If you’re that tired, you must stop and rest properly.”

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