No Excuses for Being Late For Work This Winter

Employers beware! New research released today shows that UK businesses could tot up losses of £402 million this month from late-running staff, as over half (57 per cent) of commuting motorists surveyed refuse to set their alarms earlier to help deal with adverse motoring conditions caused by wintery weather.


The research commissioned by esure shows that since the clocks went back, over half of motorists questioned (58 per cent) admit that they have been late for work at least twice a week, by an average of 24 minutes, due to weather-related motoring issues. The top five reasons for being late were:

  1. Spending extra time in the morning defrosting or de-misting the car (68 per cent)
  2. Contending with bad weather - heavy rain, strong winds, snow, fog (62 per cent)
  3. Icy road conditions (51 per cent)
  4. More traffic on the road (39 per cent)
  5. Accidents en route (38 per cent)

A further 12 per cent said that flat car batteries had made them late and 5 per cent said that car keys broken in frozen locks delayed their journey to work. In fact, 59 per cent of motorists polled admitted that in the winter months they find it harder to get out of bed in the morning and regularly use the snooze button.

It's not just minor delays that are to blame, claims statistics show that November is a notoriously bad month for motoring accidents which can often cause lengthy hold ups - 38 per cent said they had been delayed because of accidents on their journey to work.

UK businesses aren't the only ones losing out - motorists are also at risk as a shocking 21 per cent confess to regularly breaking the speed limit on the way to work. Over half (55 per cent) also admit to contacting work while driving either by calling (42 per cent), texting (12 per cent) or emailing (1 per cent) to warn of delays. Not only could motorists be breaking the law, it is also a distraction that could substantially increase the likelihood of an accident.

Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure car insurance, said: "November is a notoriously bad month for commuting motorists and employers alike. A combination of more traffic and contending with wintery weather conditions can easily delay journeys to work.

"Motorists should allow extra time in the morning to prepare their car and preempt a slower drive with possible delays caused by accidents. Speeding to make up for lost time or using a mobile phone to contact the boss - by calling, texting and emailing whilst on the move - are dangerous and should be avoided. Simple steps, such as setting the alarm clock ten minutes earlier, will lead to a safer drive to work."

Motorists in the North East experience more delays en route to work due to accidents, with 48 per cent surveyed stating that they have been delayed because of this. In the East Midlands only 30 per cent said this causes delays on their journey.

11 per cent of London drivers polled admitted to frequently breaking the speed limit when running late for work, whilst Scottish motorists tend to be safer with only 2 per cent of those asked saying they would do so.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of female motorists questioned have been delayed for work because they have spent extra time de-frosting or de-misting the car, whereas 10 per cent fewer male drivers (63 per cent) have lost time over this.

Male drivers tend to be more ruthless when it comes to breaking the speed limit to get to work quicker, with over two thirds (63 per cent) admitting they break the speed limit on occassion compared to 51 per cent of female motorists.

Tips to avoid November morning delays:

  • Set your alarm clock ten minutes earlier to give yourself more time to contend with unforseen circumstances
  • Check the weather forecast regularly and make sure you are prepared for frosty mornings
  • Get a travel update as soon as you wake up and then plan your route accordingly to avoid traffic jams
  • Make sure you keep a de-frosting kit in your vehicle - consisting of de-icer spray and an ice scraper. Don't use hot water as a quick alternative
  • A cloth placed over the windscreen of your car will save you having to de-ice in the morning
  • Make sure you get a good night's sleep as well as taking regular exercise. This will boost your concentration levels when behind the wheel. If you tend to feel low at this time of year, invest in a natural light-box, which mimics the energising effect of natural sunlight
  • If you find it difficult to wake up on dark mornings, you can buy alarm clocks with a light built in - ensuring you wake up more gradually and with more energy
21 November 2008 Staff

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