Study highlights ‘dangerously poor knowledge’ about safe winter driving
A new study into driving in bad weather conditions has highlighted ‘dangerously poor knowledge’ when it comes to winter stopping distances.
In the survey, carried out on behalf of Brake and Direct Line, 71% of the 1,000 drivers questioned did not know how much longer it takes for a vehicle to stop in icy conditions.
Published as forecasters predict a drop in temperatures later this week, just 23% of those surveyed knew that the actual stopping distance in icy weather is up to 10 times longer than in normal conditions.
11% of respondents said the stopping distance is twice as long in icy weather, a third thought it is four times as long and 27% opted for five times as long.
The survey also highlighted that 66% of drivers believe others do not leave enough space to stop safely while more than half of those questioned (54%) said other drivers travel too fast in poor weather conditions.
The results led Brake to suggest that “almost three quarters of drivers take life threatening risks on icy roads”.
Warnings and advice
With the first real cold snap of the winter on the horizon, a number of road safety organisations have issued advice to drivers on how to travel safely in difficult conditions.
Tips issued by GEM Motoring Assist include carrying essential items including a shovel, warm clothes and fully charged mobile phone, reducing speed and leaving more space between the vehicle in front.
Advice from Road Safety Wales focuses on the dangers of driving in heavy rain. Inspector Gary Jones of Dyfed Powys Police stresses the importance of letting others know your intended route and taking a mobile phone in case of breakdown.
He also advises drivers to use dipped highlights, avoid using rear fog lights, and slow down when driving through standing water.
Interactive Driving Systems has published an eight-point plan in order to help motorists stay safe.
The plan covers journey management and checking your vehicle and the conditions, and advises drivers to use the highest possible gear in order to help maintain control, and to give more space to vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists.