British drivers are failing to take steps to prepare themselves for winter driving, despite previously having their mobility affected by adverse weather, a new study has shown.

A survey conducted by insurance provider AXA revealed that only a third of drivers take basic precautions when venturing out in poor conditions, such as taking a shovel, warm clothing, or an in-car mobile phone charger.

This apathy comes despite the same proportion of drivers admitting to having missed work, or being cut off from family or essential medical services due to being unable to travel in bad weather.

Staggeringly, one in twenty drivers have spent seven or more days isolated and unable to drive anywhere.

Appropriate tyres are another aspect that drivers are neglecting. With temperatures in London falling to as little as 6°c today, winter tyres, which are made from a compound that remains pliable below 7°c, offer greater levels of traction than summer rubber, even if conditions remain dry.

Despite this, only six per cent of drivers surveyed planned to fit winter tyres to ensure their cars retained safe levels of grip as temperatures continue to plummet.

Maxine Tighe, head of motor claims at AXA, commented: “Winter weather consistently causes serious problems in the UK, but our research shows that drivers are still being complacent.

“Winter has a massive impact on road safety, and it’s not just snow that causes problems, ice and fog also make the roads more dangerous. “Using winter tyres makes driving safer, as they can improve stopping distances by up to 10 per cent in wet and icy weather and up to 20 per cent in snow.

“Drivers who prepare for winter will find it easier to travel in the cold and might just find that a little forward thinking – such as keeping a blanket and a phone charger in the car – could turn out to be a lifesaver”.

The survey also showed that drivers in the North were best prepared for adverse weather, with three-quarters taking steps to ensure their cars remained usable. This compared to less than fifty percent of drivers in the South of the country. Men were also marginally more likely to fit winter tyres to their cars, though female drivers were more likely to ensure they carried essential provisions such as a torch or blankets.

Should winter tyres be a legal requirement during the winter months? Have your say below.

Picture: Fotolia

Daljinder Nagra


December 3, 2013

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