Ice-Braker: Churchill urges drivers to be cautious this winter

7th November 2012

  • 26 per cent of motorists do not allow extra time for their winter journeys
  • 44 per cent of motorists increase their risk of a crash in winter by not effectively demisting/de-icing their car windows

Churchill Car Insurance has investigated the driving behaviour of motorists during winter months and discovered that drivers are putting themselves, their passengers and other road users in jeopardy through their actions. *

The investigation found that, of those who drive regularly, during winter months:

  • 24 per cent of drivers do not take corners at a slower speed
  • 25 per cent do not increase the distance between their car and the car in front
  • 26 per cent do not allow more time to get to their destination by driving at a reduced speed

This is despite 27 per cent admitting that they skidded on ice last winter, highlighting just how important it is to take things a little easier and slower in wintery weather.

In addition, 44 per cent of motorists who drove regularly last winter, drove with their windscreens misted or iced over, reducing their visibility and thereby increasing their chances of a collision.

Tony Chilcott, head of Churchill Car Insurance, comments, “It is really important that, during winter, drivers do not assume that they can drive at the same speeds and in the same style that they would in fair and dry conditions. Remember that you may not always be able to see ice patches, so at the very least it’s a good idea to reduce your speed, particularly when driving around corners.”

Churchill cold snap driving tips

  • Increase the distance between your car and the car in front
  • Reduce your speed, particularly when cornering
  • Remember that you may not always be able to see ice patches. If you 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. Do not overcorrect as you will end up sliding the other way
  • To reduce the condensation on cold windows use the air conditioning instead of heated air to demist your windows more quickly and effectively
  • Do not drive until all of your windows are defrosted/demisted and you can see clearly right around your vehicle. Pay particular attention to your windscreen, to avoid the possibility of a fine from the police and points on your licence **
  • Keep all of your windows clean and smear-free during the winter months
  • Do not forget to put together a winter driving survival kit if you are going on a long journey, or somewhere that is more remote: ice scraper, de-icer for windows, a mobile phone, water, a flask of hot drink or soup, some chocolate or other high-energy snacks, a shovel, blankets and warm clothing
  • Once you are 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

Chilcott continues, “It may appear quicker and easier to get in your car and go when your windows are iced or misted over. However, if you drive off with a restricted view from any of your windows, you are dramatically increasing your chances of a crash, not to mention the risk of a fine and even points on your licence. Drivers should allow an extra ten minutes in the morning to de-ice and demist their cars, but should avoid using a kettle/hot water as they run the risk of cracking their windscreen. We found that people use all sorts of wacky articles to clear a windscreen, including CD cases, cigarette packets, credit cards and even kitchen spatulas!”

Popular methods used last winter to clear a windscreen

  • De-icer and scraper (69 per cent)
  • Scraper (59 per cent)
  • Your hands (18 per cent)
  • A boiling kettle (15 per cent)
  • Covering the windscreen at night (14 per cent)

For further information please contact:
Chloe French
Churchill Press Office
Tel: 0208 285 8848
Email: chloe.french@directlinegroup.co.uk

Notes to Editors

* Churchill car insurance commissioned Opinium Research to carry out an online survey of 2,013 UK adults aged 18+ from 19th to 22nd October 2012. Of those, 1,333 drive regularly. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.
** https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/annex-5-penalties

Churchill

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 are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc, which is wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0800 200300 or visiting www.churchill.com.