The impact of winter weather on road traffic accident statistics

A survey completed by a car insurance firm has confirmed what insurers and car owners have suspected all along: that the risk of severe traffic accidents increases with the worsening of the winter weather.

The report found that traffic accidents peak during November, December, and January. The survey took data from five years’ worth of insurance claims, comparing the winter months with the summer and spring. The insurers claim that severe accidents are as much as 4 times more common in the colder months. They name the date of December 7th as one of the worst driving days of the year.1

What’s the difference between a severe accident and a standard accident?

A road traffic accident includes anything from a bumper ding in the car park to a head on collision on the motorway. Accidents where you are slightly injured are not severe. Accidents are not even severe if you break a leg or arm. Accidents are only classed as severe in the eyes of insurance companies if the car is so irreparably damaged that you could not drive it away. According to a survey by Admiral Insurance, 12% of all accidents in February are severe, with the other winter months following closely behind.2 Whether your accident is severe or not, you should reach out to a personal injury solicitor to help you, should the need arise.

The dangers of black ice

The report also highlighted the dangers of black ice which is otherwise known as clear ice. Black ice is just a term used to describe a thin layer of ice on the road surface which is impossible to see because it is transparent.  When your car hits a patch of black ice it skids. If you fail to turn into the skid, or if you slam on the brakes while moving, this can cause severe accidents. The survey reported that 10% of all motorists have experienced this while driving in the ice and snow.3

Only one in four people know what to do when they hit black ice with a further 16% claiming they would panic. These are not lessons our driving instructors teach us if we take lessons at any other time of year.

Driving in poor conditions causes accidents

The upshot of all of this data is that driving in wintry weather is much more dangerous than driving in normal road conditions. 18% of all drivers surveyed worryingly added that they would risk driving in a red weather warning.4 Red weather warnings are put in place for our safety. Amber and Red warnings indicate a threat to your life should you take to the roads. Half of all drivers in the UK say they would ignore flood warnings and drive anyway.

Conversely, the survey found that drivers are reluctant to drive in the dark, but while only 11% were hesitant about this, a further 24% don’t bother to fully de-ice their car when they leave for work in the morning.5 It seems that there is a clear split in UK drivers: those with too much confidence and those with too little.

How to prepare for driving in the ice and snow

Keep a blanket, water and a torch in your car. You should also have a first aid kit. Do not drive in amber or red weather warnings and do not ignore floods. The RAC have further tips on driving in severe weather.

Contact us to discuss the details of your situation and find out if you have a claim.

Why choose SilverOak Solicitors?

If you have suffered as a result of a road traffic accident, contact our team today. Our experts at SilverOak Solicitors can talk you through your options in personal injury and insurance lawsuits. We always provide a free 15-minutes initial consultation with no obligation to engage afterwards. We are a nationwide law firm that offers a personal approach with a London based office where you are always safe and welcome to visit.

1-5 Admiral, 2021:

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