Ice-ly does it: Churchill car Insurance warns drivers of cold snap danger

8th February 2011

  • Half of motorists have left their car running and gone back indoors
  • Drivers at risk because they do not have time to clear their windscreens

New research from Churchill Car Insurance* reveals that motorists are putting themselves and pedestrians in jeopardy this winter through poor visibility. Drivers could also run the risk of being uninsured for theft, with half of motorists surveyed admitting to leaving their car running to defrost and returning indoors leaving their car attended.

The research also revealed that a quarter of male drivers risk having an accident because they do not clear their windscreens. The age group of motorists in most danger are 25-34 year olds with 37 per cent admitting they do not have time to fully clear their windscreens and drive off without full visibility. Motorists in the South East are the safest with 84 per cent proclaiming they never drive off with poor visibility. The most safety conscience age group were the over 65s with 92 per cent never driving with poor visibility.

Tony Chilcott, head of car insurance at Churchill, comments: "Opportunistic thieves must be delighted with so many drivers leaving their cars running unattended. Drivers should allow an extra 10 minutes in the morning to clear their cars. If there is snow on top of your vehicle when you drive off or you are unable to see clearly, you risk a fine and in some cases, you could receive points on your licence.

"Motorists are also risking scratching or cracking their windscreens by using hot water from kettles and credit cards to scrap the ice from their windows. Always carry de-icer and a traditional scraper in the boot of your car. It only takes a few minutes and you are less likely to damage your car."

Most popular ways to clear a windscreen (other than traditional scraper)

  1. Using your hands (45 per cent)
  2. Using a credit card (36 per cent)
  3. Pouring hot water from a kettle (26 per cent)
  4. Scraping ice with a CD case (20 per cent)

Churchill cold snap driving tips

  1. To reduce the condensation on cold windows, use the warm setting on your air-conditioning instead of heated air to demist your windows more quickly and effectively
  2. Keep all your windows clean and smear-free during the winter months
  3. Don't forget to put together a winter driving survival kit if you're going on a long journey, or somewhere that's more remote: ice-scraper, de-icer for windows, a mobile phone, a flask of hot drink or soup, some chocolate or other high-energy snacks, blankets and warm clothing
  4. Once you're on the road, watch your speed and only drive as fast as the conditions allow. Stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow, which means that at 50mph it will take you 530 metres or 130 cars to come to a halt
  5. If your wheels lock and you go into a skid, ease off the accelerator or take your foot off the brake pedal (depending on which has caused the skid) and gently steer into the direction of the skid until your tyres grip the road again. Don't overcorrect as you'll end up sliding the other way

For more tips on driving in the cold please visit

For further information please contact:

Claire Foster
Churchill Insurance Press Office
Tel: 020 8285 8682
Mob: 07900 217 264

* research from Research Now Automotive Omnisurvey 2010


Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK’s leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200300 or visiting