THE UK is preparing for one of the coldest winters in almost a decade, but new data shows many drivers are dangerously unprepared to drive in icy conditions and could be putting themselves and others at risk as a result.
A survey of 2,006 UK car drivers carried out by Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital marketplace for new and used cars, published in the Winter Driving Study, has revealed that more than 1 in 4 (28%) admit they are too scared to drive in the snow.
The research shows that many drivers are incorrectly interpreting the guidance around safe winter driving or are simply not aware of key aspects of winter driving. As a result, many motorists exhibit dangerous driving habits during the winter months.
According to the data, more than half (59%) of drivers were not aware that black ice is transparent, and may therefore fail to identify it when driving.
What’s more, three quarters of those surveyed were unaware that the safe stopping distance increases by ten times in icy conditions. In fact, more than 1 in 4 (27%) wrongly believe that stopping distance increases by only three times when it’s icy, meaning many could be putting themselves and others at risk as a result of not allowing enough time to brake.
The news comes as data shows there were more than 32,000 road accidents between October and December last year, with 443 of those proving fatal.
The study by Auto Trader also reveals that more than 1 in 3 (34%) car drivers leave their engine running and go back into the house while their car warms up and demists on cold days. Meanwhile, 1 in 10 (11%) – or 3.6million drivers – do not wait at all, instead starting their journey with their head sticking out of the window, in order to see where they are going.