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Brits avoid the roads ahead of arctic conditions

- One in 10 (10%) British drivers avoid the roads in cold weather conditions -

Posted on 16 Nov 2016

- Nearly a quarter (24%) of drivers have had an accident or near-miss when driving in bad weather conditions.
- Just over half (56%) take time to clear ice from the windows, roof and number plate of their cars before driving
- One in five (21%) use a bank or loyalty card to clear ice from their car, rather than using de-icer or ice-scrapers.
- British drivers leave their homes an average of 16 minutes earlier to allow for any delays while driving in bad weather conditions.

As temperatures across Britain are expected to plummet1, new research from motoring experts reveals one in 10 (10%) British motorists avoid the roads in cold weather conditions. And with nearly a quarter (24%) of drivers having an accident or near-miss when driving in bad weather conditions, it’s never been more important for drivers to be prepared for the cold weather snap.

Further research from the Department of Transport reveals that last year alone, there were over 2,000 accidents across the UK caused by snow or ice on the roads2. And it would seem not all drivers are as cautious as they should be when taking to the roads in cold weather conditions. When Brits find their cars covered in snow or ice, just over half (56%) take the time to clear all windows, roof, number plates and lights. The Highway Code stipulates all snow that could fall off into the path of other road users should be removed3.

And when it comes to the tools for clearing the ice, it would seem British drivers aren’t stocking up their cars for the cold weather. Rather than using the logical ice-scrapers or de-icer to clear car windows on an icy morning, over one in five (21%) drivers have used a bank or loyalty card while a further 8% have used an old CD from their car. Almost two-fifths (37%) have braved the cold and simply used their hands.

Despite some motorists being unprepared for the cold weather snap, the average British motorist allocates an extra 16 minutes to their journey to allow for any sort of delay in bad weather conditions. However, nearly three in 10 (29%) only allow 10 minutes or less. 

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, says:“With a cold snap expected over the next few weeks, we’re urging motorists to be extra careful when driving this winter. This type of weather requires the most care and preparation if you’re to stay safe.

“When the weather turns and you’re out in your vehicle, it can be tempting to put your foot down and drive home as quickly as possible. However, icy roads and excessive speeds spell trouble. As well as being more vigilant in these conditions, drivers need to plan their journeys in advance. Leaving home at least 10 minutes earlier, in order to de-ice the windscreen and drive carefully, will help drivers to avoid that potentially dangerous mad rush to work and reduce the likelihood of any accidents that could take place.”


Notes to editors

Unless otherwise stated, all figures are taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll on behalf of This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 19th and 21st October 2016.


2. Research from the Department of Transport reveals there were 2,030 traffic accidents in snow or ice in 2015.

- England - 1,550
- Scotland - 346
- Wales - 134

3. Rule 229 of the Highway Code states that snow or ice must be cleared from all windows, lights, number plates and removed from anywhere where it could fall off into the path of other road users.

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