Ireland Driving Skills

Some Irish motorists it would seem have their rose tinted glasses firmly on when it comes to how they perceive their own driving skills according to figures issued today by AA Motor Insurance.  69% of the 15,000 motorists surveyed during the latest AA Motor Insurance said they would rate their own driving as above average.  Inversely only 0.8% described their driving as below par.

“While there are many excellent drivers out there, the findings of our survey do suggest that most of us are more than a little biased when it comes to our own driving.”  Says Conor Faughnan, Ex AA Director of Policy.  “None of us are perfect and most of us have unwittingly picked up bad and sometimes even dangerous habits that we are not aware of.”

Drivers in Ireland Survey Responses

Of note, the AA Motor Insurance poll also reveals that young males drivers, aged between 17 and 24 years, are most confident in their driving abilities despite being some of the least experienced drivers on our roads.  86.8% of those surveyed within this age group described themselves as above average drivers.  And of these, 44.9% rated themselves as well above average.  This is compared to 18.2% of females of the same age.

“It is an old cliché that there are two things that no male will admit that he is bad at. Driving is one of them.” Says Faughnan. “There is a serious message in this. If we tend to over-estimate our own driving abilities then that can lead to excessive risk taking. It is this cavalier attitude to risk that is at the core of Ireland’s road safety problem.”

In stark contrast to the overall results of this latest poll, an earlier Motor Insurance survey carried out last November found that just 20% of motorists believe the standard of driving on Irish roads by private road users to be high.  “When it comes to driving, we’re often quite slow to recognize our own faults and quick to criticize others.”  Says Faughnan.  “The results of these two polls illustrate this point down to a tee.”

The AA also points out that despite how drivers perceive themselves the most important statistic of all – the number of road fatalities – is falling in Ireland. The RSA and the Garda issued data last Friday that shows that road deaths are down by 9% so far this year. While this is very encouraging the same data also shows that we still have a problem with road deaths among 16-24 year olds, precisely the age group most likely to over-estimate their driving ability.

An examination of the results of the AA Motor Insurance poll on a county by county level identifies Laois, Roscommon, Westmeath and Limerick drivers as most likely to consider themselves as first rate drivers.

The AA is inviting motorists to share their view on driver behavior via its blog www.theaa.ie/blog

 

Ends

 

Notes to the editor;

 

Fig. 1 Overview of how those motorists polled by the AA Motor Insurance poll would rate their own driving abilities. (Based on 15,170 responses)

 

I would consider myself to be well above average 51.5%
I would consider myself to be somewhat above average 32.9%
I would consider myself to be about average 11.1%
I would consider myself to be somewhat below average 3.8%
I would consider myself to be well below average 0.8%

 

Fig. 2 Percentage of motorists surveyed by the AA Motor Insurance poll who would classify themselves as a better than average driver split by gender.  (Based on 15,038 responses)

 

Females (6,392)
I would consider myself to be well above average 18.2%
I would consider myself to be somewhat above average 42.9%
Males (8,646)
I would consider myself to be well above average 30.4%
I would consider myself to be somewhat above average 44.3%

 

Fig. 3 Overview of how those motorists polled by the AA Motor Insurance poll would rate their own driving abilities categorized by age. (Based on 15,170 responses)

 

17 – 24 years (Based on 329 responses):

 

All Males Females
I would consider myself to be well above average 29.2% 44.9% 18.2%
I would consider myself to be somewhat above average 44.7% 41.9% 46.9%
I would consider myself to be about average 23.1% 11.8% 30.7%
I would consider myself to be somewhat below average 2.4% 1.5% 3.1%
I would consider myself to be well below average 0.6% 0.0% 1.0%

 

25 to 35 years (Based on 3,209 responses):

 

All Males Females
I would consider myself to be well above average 27.2% 35.6% 19.4%
I would consider myself to be somewhat above average 44.2% 44.1% 44.4%
I would consider myself to be about average 27.6% 19.6% 35.1%
I would consider myself to be somewhat below average 0.9% 0.7% 1.0%
I would consider myself to be well below average 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%

 

36 to 45 years (Based on 4,030 responses):

 

All Males Females
I would consider myself to be well above average 27.1% 33.1% 20.1%
I would consider myself to be somewhat above average 43.3% 44.0% 42.4%
I would consider myself to be about average 29.0% 22.4% 36.9%
I would consider myself to be somewhat below average 0.5% 0.5% 0.5%
I would consider myself to be well below average 0.1% 0.0% 0.1%

 

46 to 55 years (Based on 3,884 responses):

 

All Males Females
I would consider myself to be well above average 24.2% 29.6% 16.5%
I would consider myself to be somewhat above average 43.7% 43.9% 43.4%
I would consider myself to be about average 31.6% 26.0% 39.6%
I would consider myself to be somewhat below average 0.4% 0.4% 0.5%
I would consider myself to be well below average 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%

 

56 to 64 years (Based on 2421 responses)

 

All Males Females
I would consider myself to be well above average 24.2% 26.9% 14.8%
I would consider myself to be somewhat above average 43.7% 44.9% 40.1%
I would consider myself to be about average 31.6% 27.1% 44.1%
I would consider myself to be somewhat below average 0.4% 0.9% 0.8%
I would consider myself to be well below average 0.1% 0.2% 0.3%

 

65+ years (Based on 1,118 responses)

 

All Males Females
I would consider myself to be well above average 20.1% 21.0% 16.8%
I would consider myself to be somewhat above average 44.8% 46.4% 39.6%
I would consider myself to be about average 34.4% 32.0% 42.8%
I would consider myself to be somewhat below average 0.4% 0.5% 0.4%
I would consider myself to be well below average 0.2% 0.1% 0.4%

 

 

Fig. 3 Percentage of motorists surveyed by the AA Motor Insurance poll who would classify themselves as a better than average driver split by county.  (Based on 15,137 responses)

 

County %
Carlow (153) 71.8%
Cavan (168) 64.1%
Clare (299) 70.7%
Cork (1,689) 70.5%
Donegal (227) 64.6%
Dublin (5,675) 67.9%
Galway (678) 69.3%
Kerry (257) 63.3%
Kildare (1,013) 69%
Kilkenny (200) 70%
Laois (186) 74.5%
Leitrim (81) 63%
Limerick (519) 72%
Longford (88) 71.6%
Louth (331) 70.4%
Mayo (278) 71.8%
Meath (707) 68.6%
Monaghan (80) 70.1%
Tipperary (340) 71.1%
Offaly (150) 71.4%
Roscommon (154) 73.4%
Sligo (159) 62.7%
Waterford (330) 71.1%
Westmeath (219) 72.5%
Wexford (422) 65.6%
Wicklow (674) 71.1%

 

8 comments

  1. Its the same old stereotype again.blame young male’s as the only bad drivers.
    The fact is women have more crashs they are smaller and not as life threatning as male drivers.BUT MORE CRASHES.

    The stats above how ever true they really are in terms of real time driving remains to be seen over the next few years. But the FACT remains that younger drivers are more qualified and with the tigher restrictions on learner drivers, now have a higher STANDARD of drivng compared to people on the road twenty + years who never sat a theory test never mind say a full license test most got the FULL License sent out to them in the post and have acquired many bad habits. Also the Advanced Full license qualifcation was not established at the stage most where getting their license’s posted to them. I personally believe i am above average driver how you really say your far more advanced comes down to advanced driving qualifcation which i have and so do many young drivers compared to the older driver. ( WOULD REALLYY LIKE TO SEE THAT POLL)( HOW MANY OLDER DRIVERS HAVE ACQUIRED THE ADVANCED FULL LICENSE CERTIFCATE COMPARED TO YOUNGER DRIVERS AND THATS WITHOUT INCLUDING THE AVIVA IGNITION TEST) As with the car interest being alot higher these days, most actually care about how they drive/what they drive. I think YOU (AA) and RSA never take into acoount about the higher standard of driving alot of younger drivers have these days. maybe the crash/road deaths are down because some of the older drivers are off the road making way for the younger better driver.

  2. Well as long as most of us stay the right side of the median it should’nt be too bad.
    I think that its the agression in us that spoils the whole thing. I mean we’re all just average people and we generally tend to overrate ourselves in many ways. Driving is quite a complex process. Lots of us drive too fast but keep a really good look out and have very sharp reactions. Many of us drive too slowly and indecisively. Lots of us crash when we think we’re driving really well. Most of us dont crash but could drive much better. Some of us are really relying on others to not crash into us. Young drivers are mostly very good but then the statistics suggest that the actually have more “bad” accidents. That might be because they are inexperienced and maybe not as wise as the old fools.

  3. Well as long as most of us stay the right side of the median it should’nt be too bad.
    I think that its the agression in us that spoils the whole thing. I mean we’re all just average people and we generally tend to overrate ourselves in many ways. Driving is quite a complex process. Lots of us drive too fast but keep a really good look out and have very sharp reactions. Many of us drive too slowly and indecisively. Lots of us crash when we think we’re driving really well. Most of us dont crash but could drive much better. Some of us are really relying on others to not crash into us. Young drivers are mostly very good but then the statistics suggest that they actually have more “bad” accidents. That might be because they are inexperienced and maybe not as wise as the old fools.

  4. @Dean

    Come on, can you not see how many young guys do stupid things on the roads every day? I am a young male driver, and a day never goes past without seeing another young male driver doing something silly and/or dangerous, making me think “it’s guys like that who have my insurance premium so high”. And this talk of having tighter restrictions on newly qualified drivers – really? You think that every young lad who passes his test goes out and drives like that every day afterwards when he has his full licence? Not from what I see every day, with their cutting corners, indicating wrongly, incorrect lane discipline, pulling into gaps too small, speeding… None of those things would get you very far in a test, so I doubt they’re driving within these “tighter restrictions” you speak of. How often do you say the average young male check up on the rules of the road once he has his full licence? How often do you brush up? Once every six months? Once a year? Once a decade? Have you ever read through them since you got your full licence, and made yourself aware of the small changes brought in from time to time?

    Fair point about older drivers with their licences handed to them, or so many years gone by without reading the rules of the road. They’re bad to have on the road as well, and many tend to drive as if they don’t know how to use a mirror. But they don’t seem to have quite as high an opinion of their own driving according to that survey. It seems you’re exactly the type of person this article is worrying about – and perhaps rightly so.

  5. As an American, currently living in Ireland, who had a full license in the States for 40-years and currently hold an Irish License (15-years) I can say, without hesitation, that Irish motorists fall into two catagories. 1) Drives recklessly fast 2) Drives recklessly too slow. However, in both cases the main problem seems to be the drivers have no concept of looking farther than the end of their bonnet. I was taught by professional drivers in the States that one should look as far ahead as possible, thus making it possible to have time to react to any dangerous situations.

  6. As a professional driving instructor (ADI) I see other road users in a different light. I am amazed that the road deaths in this country are not at least double the current statistics. The flagrant disregard for both the rules of the road and other road users is disgusting. I always find it amazing that when teaching people that have had lessons from friends / family members, who come to me days before their test do not even know the basic rules, do not do any of the mirror checks or observation when turning. Not to mention the fact that test candidates who are doing the test in their own car do not even know the basic safety checks, what half the buttons do in the car and some cannot even open the bonnet of the car. I often do pre-tests on people who have their test the day after, but do not get even close to test standard. Then, when you tell them their faults, they ask what can I do to pass the test tomorrow. What can you say to them?
    Also the amount of “QUALIFIED” drivers who have forgotten what it is like to learn to drive, that have no patience for a learner (don’t forget you had to go through the same process). I often have other cars tailgating, passing illegally, sounding the horn if you stall, overtaking on mini roundabouts, etc. BE PATIENT
    Also, the so called professional drivers are possibly the worst, they seem to think “I’ve gotten away with it so far, so I must be good!”. this category includes sales reps, van drivers and taxi drivers (not in that order).
    But I have to point out that the two worst categories of road users are cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists are bound by the same rules as cars, motorcycles, buses and trucks. But you see cyclists going through red lights, up one way streets the wrong way. If you were to accidentally hit a cyclist even if he was going through a red light, Who Is To Blame? The car driver of course.
    I would recommend that each time you need to renew your license that you are asked some questions on the rules of the road and a 15 minute driving assessment by the RSA before your license is renewed.
    All I ask is STOP THE CARNAGE on Irish roads

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