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Most Irish drivers not confident driving in poor weather conditions, survey finds

In the same week that Met Éireann has predicted snowfall and icy roads in some parts of the country, new research has found that almost three in four Irish drivers do not feel confident when driving in poor weather conditions.

The survey, conducted among 724 drivers by RED C Research for Liberty Insurance, 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 over a third (35%) feel confident operating their vehicle with ice on the roads.

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

The research found confidence levels when driving in such conditions to be lowest among young drivers, females and those living in Munster.

Young and recently qualified drivers are most nervous when driving in adverse weather conditions.

Some 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 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 in light of the anticipated freezing weather conditions later in the week.

"The Met Office is predicting temperatures to fall to between -2C and 1C from Thursday onward. This means icy roads, particularly in the north and west of the country.

"We are therefore 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. Nearly half occurred on regional or local roads. It is important for us all to reflect on why we are still seeing this happen, 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 being more cautious 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."