Research by Sainsbury’s Finance shows that 1.3 million accidents were caused by wintry conditions in the past five years; it predicts the figure for this year alone will be 264,000 accidents.
This research is backed up by Sainsbury’s survey data, which reveals that 38% of drivers are not aware what to do if their car goes into a skid, and that 27% would take the wrong remedial action actually making the situation worse.
Drivers not in control
To illustrate the scale of the problem, the insurer tested the winter driving skills of a group of drivers on a ‘skid pan’. Worryingly, 50% were unable to safely control a car in a skid. Each motorist was given winter driving tuition, and afterwards 91% were able to safely control the car.
Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s car insurance said: ‘Everyone knows that driving in wintry weather can be hazardous, but our study shows that a staggering number of drivers do not know how to handle their vehicles in icy conditions.
‘It’s important to drive even more safely and be extra vigilant. With another icy winter reportedly on its way, we would encourage all drivers to make sure they know the correct way to handle their vehicle in slippery conditions.’
Braver in Wales
It’s no wonder then that 22% of drivers say they would only drive in wintry weather in an emergency, and that 7% wouldn’t go out at all. Women are more cautious than men, with 38% saying they would either not drive at all or only in an emergency, compared with 20% of men.
And drivers in London and the South West are the most cautious, with 40% of Londoners and 31% of those in the South West saying they would not drive at all or would only venture out in an emergency.
Those in the West Midlands (21%) and Wales (23%) were least cautious, saying they would not drive in icy conditions or saying they would only drive in an emergency.