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Terrible crash management on the M50

  • 04-03-2015 9:42am
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,995 Schadenfreudia


    Yesterday morning the M50 was in gridlock both directions due to a single fender bender southbound between the Red Cow and Ballymount.

    The accident was in the fast lane and the guards had closed the entire road. There were two fire brigade trucks and assorted police cars etc.

    In the middle of this a guard was talking to the obviously uninjured drivers sitting at their steering wheels as he was writing stuff in his notebook.

    On the northbound side where I was stuck the blockage was caused 100% by rubberneckers. When I got past the spot and looked back in the mirror there was suddenly a good 200m between me and the car behind - driver had his neck out on a stick - as if he hadn't already had enough time to take in the scene.

    No police attempting to prevent drivers on my side effectively stopping in the middle of a motorway fast lane in the middle of rush hour.

    I drive a lot in UK/Europe and I've never seen so little priority given to keeping the traffic moving, rather than staging a major costly production for every little tip.

    Now on the radio this morning I hear of gridlock on the M50 again. I can picture the scene as someone's damaged bumper is costing the economy thousands of euros and man hours.

    Maybe instead of waffling about putting additional tolls/restrictions on the M50 the authorities could first learn how to manage the traffic as it is?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,194 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    I'm curious what you think police should be doing on the northbound lanes? How do they stop people rubbernecking?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,358 ✭✭✭ papu


    I'm curious what you think police should be doing on the northbound lanes? How do they stop people rubbernecking?

    Big signs saying don't look , keep going .

    Op . The emergency response is always overkill because if they don't know what to expect they'll expect the worse , the real question is why are you having a fender bender on the motorway? I'd be quicker to critisize the drivers than the Emergency Services.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,605 yipeeeee


    Totally agree with the op.

    Every morning there is an accident and everything comes to a standstill, probably over a little tip.

    The m50 was great up until bout a year ago.

    Now i dread even looking at the thing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,894 ✭✭✭ Nunu


    I travel from Balbriggan - Dundrum last 3 years and it's getting worse for some reason? The first couple of years Sept - Oct were always really bad then it eased off. But the last few months is just constant deadlock almost everyday. I rarely use M50 in rush hour anymore which is quite unbelievable given my route.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,664 MrWalsh


    The m50 has become a nightmare over the past 18 months. The volume of traffic is simply too large for the road and the entrance/exits are in some cases woefully badly designed (Im thinking of entrance ramps so short that its difficult for a driver to have enough time to get to speed to merge or the sad case of the missing junction 14 northbound leading to double the volume of traffic coming onto it at junction 13).

    As for rubbernecking - cant they plant some dense hedging along the central reservation to block the view?

    The whole thing is not policed properly anyway, the number of times Ive nearly crashed due to an idiot coming to a complete stop in front of me because he didnt get into the exit queue early enough so just sits there indicating waiting for a gap.

    Crash management really is appalling. The order of priority should be to check on health and safety of occupants of cars then get the cars off the road. Of course some parts of the m50 have enough space either on the hard shoulder or by the central reservation to move cars out of the motorway - but typically, some dont.

    The same places suffer from accidents daily too, so they know the black spots.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,194 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    papu wrote: »
    Big signs saying don't look , keep going .

    So after a crash the guards land somewhere on the opposite side of the M50 carrying big electronic signs that when switched on will tell drivers to keep going. And none of this will cause any further rubber necking or slowdowns?

    Or maybe the guards just stand at the side of the road with Father Ted style placards, is that what he meant?


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,864 ✭✭✭✭ Alun


    Over on the continent they often erect screens around crashes to try and prevent rubbernecking from the opposite carriageway, and also police or other personnel waving furiously at passing motorists to try to persuade them to move faster.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,194 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    As to the other point in the OP, my suggestion would be to make it a driving red zone or something, with a rule that anybody who causes a crash within a red zone immediately loses their license/pays an extortionate fine.

    I would also have 3/4 four traffic branch cars on the M50 at all times actively pulling in the multitude of idiot drivers who cause the trouble for everybody else. You can't tell me they wouldn't pay for themselves in fines.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,194 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    Alun wrote: »
    waving furiously at passing motorists to try to persuade them to move faster.

    I would suggest that for the vast majority of people, a guard furiously waving at them will cause them to further slow down, not speed up.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,060 ✭✭✭ nc6000


    How about 9 penalty points and a 20K fine for causing a stupid accident on the M50 and delaying thousands of people? Would that encourage people to pay attention to what they are doing when driving and stop using their phones?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,864 ✭✭✭✭ Alun


    I would also have 3/4 four traffic branch cars on the M50 at all times actively pulling in the multitude of idiot drivers who cause the trouble for everybody else. You can't tell me they wouldn't pay for themselves in fines.
    I agree. However I don't think they'd ever get to travel more than a few km's a day if they stopped for every traffic violation they saw.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,683 Kensington


    As to the other point in the OP, my suggestion would be to make it a driving red zone or something, with a rule that anybody who causes a crash within a red zone immediately loses their license/pays an extortionate fine.

    I would also have 3/4 four traffic branch cars on the M50 at all times actively pulling in the multitude of idiot drivers who cause the trouble for everybody else. You can't tell me they wouldn't pay for themselves in fines.
    Don't think you even need to make it a driving red zone, some basic enforcement of existing road traffic laws would clear up the vast majority of the root causes of these accidents, i.e. texting, on the phone, putting on make-up/ties/brushing hair/teeth, complete disregard for correct lane behaviour or road markings.

    Blitz the place for just a week - bike cops at every entry/exit and I imagine there'd be a sea change within the week.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,701 ✭✭✭ plodder


    I'd say a lot of scrapes are caused by the speed up, slow down concertina effect. Variable speed limits (that are enforced) on electronic signs will help with that. At busy times, you want the traffic moving slowly, with short gaps, using all lanes consistently. </edit> just to be clear, it's about maximising throughput (ie number of cars passing a point per second) as much as safety.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 6,365 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Irish Steve


    Rubberneckers?

    Simple solution, used regularly in the UK. along with the cones needed to mark the area of an incident, the emergency response vehicles from the M50 concession should carry portable screens that can be put up to block the view. Couple of minutes to put up, problem with rubberneckers solved.

    Nothing to see here, get the fcuk out of it

    Other solutions.

    Variable speed limits at peak periods with overhead enforcement cameras (as per M25 in UK). Use those same cameras for enforcement on things like tailgating offenders and lane blockers. Not massively expensive, and much more effective even than mobile patrols.

    Check by Gardai on mobile phone number of involved drivers. Phone in use at time of accident, automatic disqualification. Forget a few penalty points, phone in use and involved in an accident, you're off the road. Harsh? Yes, because that's the ONLY way to get the attention of the people that think they can use the phone in their hand at 100+Kph in peak period traffic with safety. See it all the time on the M50, and had the pain of a trip with someone the other day that puts the smartphone on the seat in front of him as it's too big to hold one handed. Won't be going anywhere with him again any time soon!

    Occasional blitz spot checks on Learners driving on the motorway.

    Shore, if it was easy, everybody would be doin it.😁



  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,995 Schadenfreudia


    Alun wrote: »
    Over on the continent they often erect screens around crashes to try and prevent rubbernecking from the opposite carriageway, and also police or other personnel waving furiously at passing motorists to try to persuade them to move faster.

    Correct. And they also move minor accidents off the road with extreme speed, not block the road while they chat with the drivers.

    The Gardai here seem to make no distinction between minor crashes and major ones.

    If nobody is injured they should stop the traffic just long enough to drag the cars off the road.

    As for rubbernecking; on the M25 (London) they will position motorcycle cops on the unaffected side and wave cars on - I've seen a car followed and pulled in when it didn't move quickly enough - and it was in the slow lane trying to stare across 4 lanes of traffic to see a fireball on the other side, driver didn't even notice the motorcycle cop by his passenger window furiously waving him on - so intent was he on looking across the road!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,664 MrWalsh


    As to the other point in the OP, my suggestion would be to make it a driving red zone or something, with a rule that anybody who causes a crash within a red zone immediately loses their license/pays an extortionate fine.

    Accidents happen. I dont think people should lose their licence for an accident.
    I would also have 3/4 four traffic branch cars on the M50 at all times actively pulling in the multitude of idiot drivers who cause the trouble for everybody else. You can't tell me they wouldn't pay for themselves in fines.

    ^^This. Cops on motorbikes. Enforce it very very strictly for a couple of months then when the change has happened it could be backed down a bit.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,088 ✭✭✭ SpaceTime


    You hardly ever see traffic cops in Ireland though.

    I've driven Cork to Dublin about 12 times this month and not seen a single Garda patrol, speed check, police presence anywhere.

    I've seen them doing checks in Cork and in Dublin but nothing on the motorway that's visible anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,194 ✭✭✭✭ bucketybuck


    MrWalsh wrote: »
    ^^This. Cops on motorbikes. Enforce it very very strictly for a couple of months then when the change has happened it could be backed down a bit.

    Enforce it very very strictly for a couple of months then when the change has happened continue to enforce it very very strictly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 879 ✭✭✭ Greyian


    Check by Gardai on mobile phone number of involved drivers. Phone in use at time of accident, automatic disqualification. Forget a few penalty points, phone in use and involved in an accident, you're off the road. Harsh? Yes, because that's the ONLY way to get the attention of the people that think they can use the phone in their hand at 100+Kph in peak period traffic with safety. See it all the time on the M50, and had the pain of a trip with someone the other day that puts the smartphone on the seat in front of him as it's too big to hold one handed. Won't be going anywhere with him again any time soon!

    The fact that the phone was in use doesn't prove that any laws have been broken. Many cars have bluetooth connections to phones, and controls on the steering wheel for answering/making phone calls. If I get a phone call while driving, I press a single button and the call is answered and the car's speakers and microphone handle the conversation. No holding of the phone whatsoever.

    Likewise, in my old car, which didn't have that, it wasn't uncommon for me to ask my passenger to make a phone call on my phone (e.g. if I wanted them to call a family member etc to let them know I'd be home in 15 minutes). Whenever I got into the car, I'd take my phone out of my pocket, and place it in the area between the seats, so if needed my passenger could get at it with no issues. Again, no laws broken.

    The only way such a system would work is if you can actually prove the person was breaking a law. You can't assume, because the phone was in use, that the person was breaking a law. If someone in an old car, with no handsfree, was in an accident tomorrow, while in the car alone, while receiving a phone call, would you charge them with using their phone while driving? Well, surely you'd start by checking if they even answered the phone. I receive phone calls from time-to-time while in the car alone. In my new car, I press 1 button on steering wheel, and can converse. In my old car, I'd just wait until I reached a petrol station or something to call them back (or, would pull into a residential road and park, and then call them back, if I had some reason to believe that the call would be important news).


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,400 ✭✭✭ Alkers


    If the incident is in the outside lane and either vehicle is not driveable, it is a pretty major operation to recover the vehicle, requiring closure of that lane and quite possibly the adjacent lane so that the recovery company has a safe area in which to work. This obviously requires a certain amount of traffic management and emergency vehicles to implement which is why the response can look overkill if there are no injuries.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,988 ✭✭✭ thebullkf


    Yesterday morning the M50 was in gridlock both directions due to a single fender bender southbound between the Red Cow and Ballymount.

    The accident was in the fast lane and the guards had closed the entire road. There were two fire brigade trucks and assorted police cars etc.

    In the middle of this a guard was talking to the obviously uninjured drivers sitting at their steering wheels as he was writing stuff in his notebook.

    On the northbound side where I was stuck the blockage was caused 100% by rubberneckers. When I got past the spot and looked back in the mirror there was suddenly a good 200m between me and the car behind - driver had his neck out on a stick - as if he hadn't already had enough time to take in the scene.

    No police attempting to prevent drivers on my side effectively stopping in the middle of a motorway fast lane in the middle of rush hour.

    I drive a lot in UK/Europe and I've never seen so little priority given to keeping the traffic moving, rather than staging a major costly production for every little tip.

    Now on the radio this morning I hear of gridlock on the M50 again. I can picture the scene as someone's damaged bumper is costing the economy thousands of euros and man hours.

    Maybe instead of waffling about putting additional tolls/restrictions on the M50 the authorities could first learn how to manage the traffic as it is?


    See this is part of the problem- lack of driver education- thee is no fast lane. its an overtaking lane, ( not having a go at OP btw)

    Its just that a lot of accidents are caused by lack of driver education. This is a part of it.
    If we minimise accidents to begin with, it will stop this nonsense at source.
    The amount of folks who site in the overtaking lane is just bonkers. I have driven in at least 6 other countries on both sides of the road and have only witnessed this behaviour in Ireland.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,088 ✭✭✭ SpaceTime


    There's an amazing number of people who don't get the concept of overtaking lanes.

    I think part of the problem is that we don't accept the reality : we had no motorways really until a few years ago and at least 60% of drivers seem to be unaware of motorway driving rules.

    I constantly encumber people incapable of completing a merge, they sit in the wrong lane etc

    I also think Irish drivers are too polite. If you sit in the overtaking lane in any continental country you'll be flashed at, then if that doesn't produce a response you'll be beeped at, flashed at and you'll have someone on your bumper!

    You wouldn't do it twice.

    Here people sit there driving behind the obstruction then dangerously undertake making it worse as the slow driver then gets blocked into the overtaking lane with faster moving traffic passing them on the left.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,701 ✭✭✭ plodder


    thebullkf wrote: »
    See this is part of the problem- lack of driver education- thee is no fast lane. its an overtaking lane, ( not having a go at OP btw)

    Its just that a lot of accidents are caused by lack of driver education. This is a part of it.
    If we minimise accidents to begin with, it will stop this nonsense at source.
    The amount of folks who site in the overtaking lane is just bonkers. I have driven in at least 6 other countries on both sides of the road and have only witnessed this behaviour in Ireland.
    Fast lane/overtaking lane. It means much the same thing. When conditions are congested though, it's just another lane. If anything, it's this idea that people are entitled to overtake/go faster in the outside lane, that causes a lot of the problems. Fine, when conditions are relatively calm, keep it for overtaking, but at peak times, it's a different situation and you want all space to be utilised as efficiently as possible (eg with a speed limit of 80km/h, or sometimes less)


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 6,365 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Irish Steve


    Greyian wrote: »
    The fact that the phone was in use doesn't prove that any laws have been broken. Many cars have bluetooth connections to phones, and controls on the steering wheel for answering/making phone calls. If I get a phone call while driving, I press a single button and the call is answered and the car's speakers and microphone handle the conversation. No holding of the phone whatsoever.

    Likewise, in my old car, which didn't have that, it wasn't uncommon for me to ask my passenger to make a phone call on my phone (e.g. if I wanted them to call a family member etc to let them know I'd be home in 15 minutes). Whenever I got into the car, I'd take my phone out of my pocket, and place it in the area between the seats, so if needed my passenger could get at it with no issues. Again, no laws broken.

    The only way such a system would work is if you can actually prove the person was breaking a law. You can't assume, because the phone was in use, that the person was breaking a law. If someone in an old car, with no handsfree, was in an accident tomorrow, while in the car alone, while receiving a phone call, would you charge them with using their phone while driving? Well, surely you'd start by checking if they even answered the phone. I receive phone calls from time-to-time while in the car alone. In my new car, I press 1 button on steering wheel, and can converse. In my old car, I'd just wait until I reached a petrol station or something to call them back (or, would pull into a residential road and park, and then call them back, if I had some reason to believe that the call would be important news).

    If the vehicle has been involved in an accident, then the legality or otherwise of handsfree is irrelevant. The accident proves that the vehicle was not fully being managed and operated appropriately. Very few incidents are unavoidable, and the "normal" fender bender on a motorway is very much avoidable if the drivers concerned are truly paying attention to the task in hand.

    If the phone was in use, regardless of bluetooth or handsfree, then it IS a contributory factor to the INCIDENT that has occurred, regardless of who is actually holding the phone.

    Shore, if it was easy, everybody would be doin it.😁



  • Registered Users Posts: 19,258 ✭✭✭✭ Larbre34


    At a guess, I would do 12,000 kms purely on the M50 every year. I figure I have run out of time statistically for someone to crash into me, even though I drive as defensively as possible on it. Touch wood it hasnt happened yet anyway.

    We are the WORST motorway drivers in the western world, and the lack of motorway instruction in the driver education programme is mostly to blame. A lack of common sense and attention on the part of drivers is the rest. Blind overtaking, undertaking, going too fast, going too slow, weaving, merging across hatch markings, the list is endless. The lack of enforcement on mobile phones is a joke, I could give you 5 reg numbers a day of people I see on handheld phones on the M50 alone.

    Rubbernecking is another matter. On the continent, and particularly in mountainous areas, you see wind deflectors on motorways which double as visible barriers to the opposite carriageway. Fitting them on the M50 would cost a fortune, and should have been done when it was widened, but I think they should still look to erect them in problem areas, such as near slip and merge ramps where conflicts and collisions often occur.


  • Registered Users Posts: 879 ✭✭✭ Greyian


    If the vehicle has been involved in an accident, then the legality or otherwise of handsfree is irrelevant. The accident proves that the vehicle was not fully being managed and operated appropriately. Very few incidents are unavoidable, and the "normal" fender bender on a motorway is very much avoidable if the drivers concerned are truly paying attention to the task in hand.

    If the phone was in use, regardless of bluetooth or handsfree, then it IS a contributory factor to the INCIDENT that has occurred, regardless of who is actually holding the phone.

    Is radio a contributing factor? Would air conditioning/heating be contributory factors? Heated seats? All of these things distract you in some way/make you more relaxed/comfortable (and, as such, less alert).

    And, you originally said Gardai should check the phones of any drivers involved. Now, you're saying if the phone is in use, regardless of who is holding the phone etc, it is a distraction. That would suggest any phone is a distraction. Should a passenger in the back seat not be allowed make a phone call/text?

    Honestly, it seems like you thought you'd come up with an idea that would be foolproof for punishing people using their phones illegally while driving, and are now defending your idea regardless of the gaping holes in it.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,995 Schadenfreudia


    thebullkf wrote: »
    See this is part of the problem- lack of driver education- thee is no fast lane. its an overtaking lane, ( not having a go at OP btw)

    I merely used the term 'cos everyone will know where I'm talking about! There are two overtaking lanes on the M50 - so I guess slow, middle and fast is what everyone understands ;)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 27,836 ✭✭✭✭ ThisRegard


    Check by Gardai on mobile phone number of involved drivers. Phone in use at time of accident, automatic disqualification.

    Unworkable as there's no way of knowing how it was being used.
    If the vehicle has been involved in an accident, then the legality or otherwise of handsfree is irrelevant. The accident proves that the vehicle was not fully being managed and operated appropriately. Very few incidents are unavoidable, and the "normal" fender bender on a motorway is very much avoidable if the drivers concerned are truly paying attention to the task in hand.

    If the phone was in use, regardless of bluetooth or handsfree, then it IS a contributory factor to the INCIDENT that has occurred, regardless of who is actually holding the phone.

    Should the same apply to every driver with a passenger?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,088 ✭✭✭ SpaceTime


    If the vehicle has been involved in an accident, then the legality or otherwise of handsfree is irrelevant. The accident proves that the vehicle was not fully being managed and operated appropriately. Very few incidents are unavoidable, and the "normal" fender bender on a motorway is very much avoidable if the drivers concerned are truly paying attention to the task in hand.

    If the phone was in use, regardless of bluetooth or handsfree, then it IS a contributory factor to the INCIDENT that has occurred, regardless of who is actually holding the phone.

    Not if it's being held by a passenger and there is nothing illegal about using a phone connected by Bluetooth without holding it.

    Using the radio, sneezing, setting the air conditioning could cause it.

    I think we're getting a bit paranoid about mobiles. They shouldn't be used as handhelds or for texting, emailing, posting on forums etc but in vehicle safe mode they're not an issue any more than anything else.

    Crashes on motorways here are rare enough but the dangers here are mostly bad driving, hesitant driving, inability to use lanes, bad merging, tailgating and absolute idiocy like driving the wrong way on a motorway.

    I've seen people reverse up the hard shoulder as they missed an exit!


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,664 MrWalsh


    SpaceTime wrote: »
    I've seen people reverse up the hard shoulder as they missed an exit!

    I saw someone at a dead stop in the centre lane just past the southbound exit ramp of the firhouse exit with a large map out over the steering wheel trying to get their bearings. Traffic was flowing around them like they were a rock in a river.


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