Getting by car to some of Ireland’s most famous beauty spots can be both a pleasure and a nightmare, a new study shows.
The most scenic drives in the country are also the most feared, according to the survey carried out by Chill Insurance.
The Irish-based insurance intermediary conducted a survey of 650 Irish drivers to find out which roads the general public deems the most dangerous. The campaign aims to increase road safety awareness and ultimately reduce the number of road traffic accidents.
According to the poll, the most dangerous drive in the country is to the Cliffs of Moher in Clare. A popular destination for tourists thanks to the breathtaking scenery, this stretch of coastal road, with 200m drops, has been made unstable by recent landslides and 19% of those surveyed voted this beautiful, yet nerve- wracking road, as the most dangerous.
Old Military Rd in Wicklow followed closely behind, with 13% of those surveyed picking it as the most dangerous. Winding through the Wicklow Mountains, the road has a number of hazards; blind spots and winding bends make it a favourite for thrill-seekers but the poor road conditions have resulted in a number of accidents.
Finally, the Gap of Dunloe was voted as most perilous by 11% of respondents. This narrow mountain pass in Kerry is 731m above sea level and is an extremely popular tourist destination. With tight hairpins and numerous potholes, the road is also frequented by horse-drawn traps, making it even more dangerous.
Dublin was voted as the county with the most dangerous roads; with the vast majority of those surveyed agreeing that the roads around the capital are the most treacherous.
This result is in line with data from the RSA; Dublin had the greatest number of fatal road traffic accidents last year.
Last year, according to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) there were 159 fatal collisions in Ireland, the lowest number since 2012. Despite the decrease from the previous year, Chill says this number is still too high.
According to the survey, 34% of drivers have been involved in a road traffic accident in the past five years, and a staggering 68% of people surveyed are worried for their safety when driving in Ireland.
It is little wonder, although there are wide variations nationwide. In 2015, Dublin (17) and Cork (16) had the highest record of road fatalities, while Roscommon and Waterford had none.
The highest number of car user deaths occurred in Cork (10) and Wexford (8) followed by Donegal, Kildare, and Meath, where seven vehicle users lost their lives in each county.
Sunday was the most dangerous day on roads in 2015, with a total of 32 lives lost. There was also a weekday peak on Tuesday (28).
The highest number of fatalities in 2015 occurred between 10am and 12pm (20) and 4pm and 6pm (19).
While road fatalities last year were down on those recorded in 2014, numbers have risen again this year. The number of people who died on Irish roads has increased by 18% this year compared with the same period in 2015.
Fergal Lynch, head of marketing at Chill, said of the survey: “With such a varied landscape, Ireland has some beautiful roads. However, a number of these routes can also be dangerous if due care is not taken.
“It’s important that road users are aware of the risks involved when driving on some of our roads.”
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