Millions of drivers are woefully unprepared for harsh winter weather and face vast fines for skipping safety steps such as removing snow, ice, and condensation from their windows, Admiral Car Insurance revealed. 24% of survey respondents do not always fully clear their windscreen before driving, for instance. Further:
- 32% do not carry de-icer
- 23% do not have an ice scraper.
As poor visibility increases the risk of collision, injury, and death the Highway Code revealed how best to proceed. Rule 229 said:
‘Before you set off:
- you must be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows
- you must ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
- make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly
- remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users’.
The Highway Code further revealed the penalties for falling foul of such rules. If the car is in ‘dangerous condition’ you can be fined up to £2,500, for starters. You might also get 3 penality points and be banned from driving. ‘You are responsible for making sure your vehicle is always safe to drive’, the Highway Code emphasised.
Admiral Car Insurance also revealed that countless drivers are prepared to take extreme risks this winter. 50% of survey respondents ‘would ignore severe or normal flood warnings and continue to drive’, for example. Severe indicates ‘danger to life’.
Furthermore, 18% would ‘risk driving’ even if there is a red weather warning. The BBC Met Office confirmed that a red warning means ‘extreme weather’ is on the way and expect ‘widespread damage, travel, and power disruption’. There is a ‘risk to life‘.
Admiral Car Insurance also confirmed that drivers fail to pack simple, low cost equipment that minimises risk and/or gets a car out of trouble. 68% of survey respondents do not have high visibility clothing, for example. 72% do not carry a shovel to remove snow. 66% do not have jump leads. 55% do not have a blanket.
Accident claims rise in winter
The insurer further explained that it receives the highest number of claims in November, December, and January when bad weather and dark evenings make motoring more dangerous. In November, for example, there are typically 25% more claims than April. Furthermore, the ‘severity of accidents’ increases in winter. It is clearly important to ‘follow any safety advice’, Admiral concluded.