Nearly 3 in 4 Irish drivers do not feel confident when driving in poor weathers conditions

Less than a quarter (23%) of Irish drivers feel that Irish roads were equipped to deal with weather conditions such as ice, snow, strong winds and fog according to the latest study.

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Nearly 75% admit to being nervous driving in poor weather conditions.

New research by Liberty Insurance suggests nearly three in four Irish drivers (74%) do not feel confident when driving in poor weather conditions. 

Conducted by RED C Research among 724 drivers, the survey found that Ice on the roads and snow have the strongest negative impact on confidence amongst drivers; less than half (43%) of all drivers are confident driving in snow, while just over a third (35%) feel confident operating their vehicle with ice on the roads.

The research found confidence levels when driving in such conditions to be lowest amongst young drivers, females and those living in Munster. Newly qualified drivers particularly nervous

Young and recently qualified drivers are most nervous when driving in adverse weather conditions.  80% of drivers under the age of 30 are not confident driving in bad weather, and only 15% of newly qualified drivers feel very prepared to drive in inclement weather following the successful completion of their driving test.  

More than three in five drivers (62%) have felt nervous as a result of driving in bad weather.  Overall, drivers in Munster tend to be most nervous, with only 22% of drivers in the region feeling confident when driving in adverse weather.  The conditions most frequently cited by motorists in the region include heavy rain, snow and ice.  Dublin motorists on the other hand were more concerned by driving in fog. 

Commenting on the research, Deirdre Ashe, Director of Personal Lines at Liberty Insurance, said: “Our research reveals that as a country, we currently lack confidence in our driving abilities in adverse weather conditions.  

“This nervousness in driving in poor weather becomes all the more concerning as we approach December and January, the two months of the year most typically associated with poor driving conditions. As we approach the festive season, we are calling on all drivers to be aware of their surroundings especially in adverse or wintry weather conditions and exercise their best judgement when travelling.

“In 2016, we saw 187 deaths on Irish roads and nearly half of all driver deaths occurred on regional or local roads.  This Sunday marks World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims (19 November).  This is a very poignant day in the calendar for many people.  It is important for us all to reflect on why we are still seeing so many deaths on our roads; to take stock of our own driving behaviour; and to consider what more can be done to make our roads safer for all road users. 

“This means drivers exercising greater caution when driving in poor weather conditions. Before driving in poor weather, check your tyre pressure and tyre treads.  Ensure all lights are working and that you have sufficient levels of anti-freeze coolant and screen wash in the car.  Once on the road, in the case of poor visibility, allow additional space between you and the vehicle in front of you, avoid overtaking and remain extra vigilant for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Further tips and advice can be found on our safety centre here.

“In terms of road safety education, the Road Safety Authority has made great strides since its foundation, and its achievements are there for all to see.  In continuing to build on these achievements, there may be an argument for incorporating some of these findings into the RSA’s driving test curriculum and using it as an opportunity to develop new features in the driving test that will challenge learner drivers on navigating adverse weather conditions and better equip them with the necessary tools to become a confident and responsible road users.”