Drivers take expensive risks in cold weather

front window of a car in winter - space for text

With another cold snap looming, new research has revealed that drivers are taking alarming risks on the road, and that the cold weather is likely to lead to hundreds of accidents as a result.

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Technically, the roads should actually be safer in cold weather, because drivers slow down, and so many people choose not to drive altogether. In reality, however, according to the Department for Transport, there were over 2,170 accidents in winter conditions in 2015.

The problem is largely down to the fact that, according to uSwitch, one in six drivers fail to adapt their driving to treacherous driving conditions. More than one in five fail to follow the Highway Code advice of leaving more space between them and the car in front, and a quarter don't always reduce their speed on icy roads.

Some people find themselves hampered by their warm weather layering. One in four admit to wearing clothes that make it harder to drive - the majority of them say their big winter coat is a hazard, while a third of them wear big winter gloves that make everything harder.

To make matters worse, many drivers also fail to prepare properly before they set off. A third don't completely clear the windscreen, and over half don't bother clearing the passenger side windows at all.

So many people don't carry an ice scraper, that half of them end up trying to clear the ice with something inappropriate. The most popular items include credit cards, CDs, items of clothing, a magazine or even a discarded stick.

Protect yourself

Kasey Cassells, an insurance expert at, says: "As the UK prepares to be gripped by sub-zero temperatures, drivers must plan ahead to ensure their vehicle is winter road-ready. By factoring just a few extra minutes before a journey, drivers can completely clear windscreens of ice and snow before setting off, helping them deal with treacherous wintry conditions."

"Drivers should also adapt the way they drive during adverse weather conditions - reducing speed as well as increasing the distance between cars could make all the difference when it comes to driving on icy roads."

Of course, for many people, it's not your own driving you need to worry about - but the driving styles of everyone else on the road. If possible in icy weather, therefore, it's worth considering whether there's an alternative to driving during the cold snap. If you can take public transport, or postpone your trip altogether, you will vastly reduce the risk of a prang with an idiot who only cleared half their windscreen before racing off down an icy road.

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