64% of drivers do not feel confident about their driving skills in winter
Well over half, or 64%, of drivers do not feel completely confident about their driving skills in winter conditions. 51% of them state that their skills could be better on a slippery road and in snowfall, 10% mostly prefer to drive only in dry and bright weather in winter, and 3% admit that they do not drive at all in winter. Only 36% of drivers state that they feel confident in all weather conditions in winter, according to the data of the "Carlsberg 0.0 responsible driving index".
Compared to the results of the study last year, it can be concluded that the number of drivers who feel confident about their skills to drive a car in winter has decreased - if in 2021 38% of drivers gave this answer, then this year it is 36%. The number of drivers who choose not to drive in winter has also decreased - from 6% last year to 3% this year. It should be noted that this year, women (6%) indicated that they do not drive at all in winter more often than men (1%).
"The two basic things that almost all drivers need to improve are steering and braking. We turn the steering wheel too much at high angles. The classic situation is a slippery road, you turn the steering wheel, the car doesn't obey and the driver continues to turn the steering wheel all the way, but that's not right." says Jānis Vanks, director of the Safe Driving School.
"The second thing is braking. Many drivers are afraid that the ABS will activate, so they are not ready to brake extremely quickly if necessary, which is critical in many situations," says Vanks. "Not checking the road surface is also a common mistake. If the road is icy, it is important to choose a safe driving speed in time and increase the distance from the vehicle in front in order to be able to control the car in case of an extreme situation."
Although it is darker in the winter months, ice forms more often on the roads, it rains and snows, the bleakest traffic accident statistics are exactly in summer - August, when road accidents took 20 lives in one month. In the summer, when the roads are dry and the light is long, drivers often lose their vigilance and become daring. There are also more motorcyclists, cyclists and inexperienced drivers on the roads at this time. The warm summer months are also a time for parties and events, which means a higher likelihood of someone getting behind the wheel under the influence. This leads to the conclusion that drivers in Latvia must be especially skilled and cautious, because there are different risks and challenges in every season.
The risks on the roads would be reduced if every driver learned how to drive in extreme conditions. Year after year, accident statistics confirm that we still have a lot of homework to do. One of them could be mandatory training in driving in extreme conditions, which every driver would have to undergo within a certain period of time after obtaining a driver's license. If this is not done, the responsible authorities would have the right to cancel the driver's license. Such an arrangement exists, for example, in Slovenia, where in 2021 there were 54 deaths per million inhabitants in road traffic accidents, while in Latvia - 78. Undeniably, such mandatory training would create additional costs, but human life cannot be valued in money.
"Carlsberg 0.0 Responsible Driving Index" is a study of the non-alcoholic beer "Carlsberg 0.0" made in cooperation with the Safe Driving School and Research Center Norstat. 1,000 Latvian residents aged 18 to 74 participated in the study, which was conducted in September 2022. The study was conducted with the aim of promoting responsible driving and understanding of what creates additional risks on the roads and how to prevent them.