Winter Driving Safety Advice

With TV news reports filled with footage of cars skidding out of control on icy roads, shocking research reveals that 2.7 million motorists are making the arctic weather even more risky for themselves - and others. A survey by Kwik-Fit shows that one in ten motorists are driving on tyres with less than the legal minimum tread - and millions more are unprepared for emergencies caused by the 'big freeze'.

The combination of nationwide severe weather warnings from the Met Office and the reported shortages of grit in council depots are resulting in the most hazardous driving conditions for many winters.

An easy check drivers can make themselves is to insert a 20p piece into the tread. If you can see the coin's outer border showing, the tread could be reaching the legal limit and should be checked by a specialist. Anyone that is concerned about the condition of their tyres and is unsure how to measure their tyre tread should take advantage of a free tyre check-up at any of Kwik-Fit's centres.

The extreme conditions have resulted in the chances of motorists being stranded in their cars, perhaps even overnight, rising significantly. However, many remain unprepared for this event, with 16% of motorists taking no special emergency supplies or equipment. Nearly 80% of motorists (21.7 million) don't even bring extra winter clothes with them on their journey. Just two in five think to store a mobile phone charger in their car and 65% dismiss the need for a warning triangle.

Emergency items not carried by UK drivers
Emergency item checklist Not carried by
Flask of hot drink 26.8 million (95%)
Extra clothes (Jacket/Gloves/Hats/Scarves) 21.7 million (79%)
Warning triangle 17.8 million (65%)
Bottled water 17.5 million (64%)
Mobile car-phone charger 16.4 million (60%)
Blanket 14.5 million (53%)
Flashlight 12.5 million (45%)

David White, customer services director at Kwik-Fit, commented: "With Britain likely to remain gripped by freezing conditions for some time yet we urge motorists who are unsure about the condition of their tyres to visit us for a free check up. Motorists would do well to remember that prevention is better than the cure and with dwindling grit stocks, many roads will become even more treacherous.

"When it comes to being stranded, it makes sense to prepare for the worst and carry items that will make lengthy waits in the cold weather more bearable. When setting off on any journey make sure you have a fully charged mobile phone, but also take your own 'sub-zero pack' which should include a phone charger, ensuring that you're able to make the necessary emergency calls and let concerned friends and family know you're safe."

12 January 2010 Staff

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