Hunt is on for Ireland’s happiest driver in the Smiling Miles campaign

Consumers in Ireland would sacrifice almost everything before their cars if they faced financial difficulty.  In fact 92% of respondents to the SMILES Index on driver happiness say that their car is essential to their way of life.  But not everyone is happy on the road and overall 73% of us complain about fuel costs, rising to 82% of drivers in Connaught.  And cars are no longer toys for boys with 92% of women saying they are happy to attempt to repair their husband’s car.


Highlighting our attachment to our motors, just 3% of consumers would get rid of their car first if faced with financial difficulty.  But consumers would ruthlessly drop holidays (48%) household luxuries (24%), TV packages (13%),  and gadgets (11%)  before getting rid of the car if faced with financial difficulties.


In fact the only thing we seem to like more than our cars is our mobile phones.  Just 1.6% of respondents would drop their phone first in order to cut back on costs.  These findings were published today by, which provides health, motor, home, pet and travel insurance.  The new SMILES Index researches driver behaviour to see what makes people happy about motoring in Ireland.


Factors pulling down the SMILES Index were mainly related to the costs of owning and running the car.  Cost of fuel ranked as the most frustrating thing about owning a car and paying road tax was the second most annoying thing about owning a car. Having to cope with vehicle breakdowns, getting the NCT and the cost of general maintenance also ranked on the list of frustrating things about car ownership in Ireland.


It seems that we love our cars and love driving but want the road all to ourselves.  Poor driving by other drivers came in most prominently as an irritation for 29% of respondents.  Other drivers disregarding the rules of the road was next most annoying trait ranking as an irritation with just under 29% followed by lack of respect for other drivers cited by a further 28% as the most irritating thing about other drivers.


See infographic at


The index was launched today to mark the start of the Smiling Miles campaign and the hunt for Ireland’s happiest driver.  Calling on consumers to submit their nominees for the Smiling Miles campaign, Padraig O’Neill of said: “Motoring should be a happy experience for consumers given the amount of money and time we spend on our motoring.  The fact that other road users feature so highly on the SMILES Index as being the source of annoyance is very interesting.  Put simply, if every road user feels that every other road user is showing no respect, then there is clearly an opportunity for us all to improve our driving behaviour and habits. That was the catalyst for us to launch the Smiling Miles campaign and seek votes for Ireland’s happiest driver.”


To take part in the smiling miles campaign drivers are asked to submit their happy motoring stories to us and we’ll post the stories on our website ( over the coming weeks.



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