Winter Driving

Motorists ill-equipped for winter driving conditionsIgnorance and poor planning are putting lives at risk. Millions of British drivers will be putting themselves and other drivers at risk in the coming months due to ignorance of winter driving conditions and a lack of adequate preparation. 13% of motorists will not conduct any checks on their car before the winter and less than half will check the battery, brakes, lights or windscreen wipers.

While most people will keep a mobile phone and an ice scraper in the car, only 45% keep a torch, 39% a blanket and less than one in four will keep a supply of emergency food and water. Over 75% do not check their battery before winter, even though this is the most common cause of breakdown.

More than three quarters of drivers surveyed by Green Flag underestimate stopping distances in icy conditions. The time it takes from braking to coming to a halt increases by ten times on winter roads but the majority of motorists think it is half this or less. There is confusion about how to combat an icy skid: one in five drivers would turn the steer away from the skid rather than the correct procedure of taking the foot off the accelerator and then steering smoothly into the direction of the skid.

The under 24-age group are the most likely to make this mistake and potentially cause a serious accident. Motoring organisations are calling for drivers to take lessons in winter driving and there are clearly basic skills that could help save lives. 30% of drivers do not keep a greater distance from the car in front in winter weather conditions and one in five do not drive slower.

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23 November 2006 Staff

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