A survey of Irish drivers, conducted by German premium tyre manufacturer Continental Tyres, shows that one third (30 percent) of drivers here are either somewhat nervous or very nervous when driving in the rain. When confronted with snow and icy roads, that figure jumps to three quarters of drivers (74 percent) feeling a high degree of concern when driving in such conditions. More than half of drivers (56 percent) have opted not to travel on a particular day because of adverse weather conditions.
According to Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland drivers are right to feel concerned when driving in wintry conditions: “In the coming weeks, we will see wintry weather start to bite and we will have to again get used to driving in freezing temperatures with perhaps falls of sleet and snow. Such weather has a big impact on road conditions and drivers really need to adapt their driving in accordance with the prevailing conditions of the roads they are travelling on. In particular, the stopping ability of a car is seriously affected on wet and icy roads so sensible drivers are right to be nervous of driving in these conditions.”
“We have seen some horrendous road traffic accidents in the past few months right across Ireland. In many cases, speed is a key contributory factor but in addition, I have no doubt that tyres are also a key cause – cars driving on worn or defective tyres have been shown to be much more likely to be involved in an accident. Stopping distances are significantly increased in the case of such defective tyres, even in ideal road conditions. And when you add wintry or icy roads into the equation, your car’s stopping distance in the event of an emergency stop situation is much, much longer, increasing the chances of an impact. So our message to drivers this winter, not just those who told us they are nervous about driving in wintry conditions, but to all drivers, is to slow down and always adapt your driving to the conditions. At all times, be aware of the possibility of your car skidding on a slick surface – frost and patches of black ice can last all day in shaded parts of the road.”
Dennigan concluded: “When it comes to road safety, we need to get drivers to focus on getting the simple things right: look after your tyres by checking them regularly; always wear a seatbelt; make sure your car is in good general condition; never drive under the influence of drink or drugs; slow down and adapt your driving to the prevailing conditions. If we all did those simple things right, now wouldn’t that be a huge boost to road safety in Ireland”.