Over nine million motorists in danger of slipping up on icy roads by not slowing down in adverse weather conditions

  • As icy conditions are set to hit Britain’s roads, new research shows UK motorists are at risk of driving dangerously by failing to adapt their habits.
  • Over nine million motorists admit to not reducing their average speed on icy roads, while one in five (22%) do not increase the distance to between themselves and the car in front
  • Motorists are risking driving without full vision, with one in four (27%) admitting they don’t completely clear ice or snow from their windscreens, while seven in ten (70%) will not clear the car roof of snow
  • To help motorists take extra care when driving in adverse weather conditions, comparethemarket.com has revealed the most dangerous roads in the UK, based on the latest data from the Road Safety Foundation

12 December 2017 – With temperatures expected to dip to xx degrees and the Met Office issuing weather warnings around the country / As freezing temperatures grip the UK, millions of drivers are putting themselves at risk by not adapting their driving habit for icy driving conditions. A quarter of motorists (25%) admit to not always reducing their speed on icy roads, while another one in five (22%) do not increase their distance to the vehicle in front, according to new research from comparethemarket.com.

In fact, many drivers are failing to prepare for potentially hazardous driving conditions before they even set off on their journey. One in four drivers (27%) admit to not completely clearing their car’s windscreen and around a third (31%) also fail to properly clear their wing mirrors before moving, potentially hindering vision and blocking blind spots. Seven in ten (70%) will not completely clear the car roof of snow, which can affect both vision and control of the vehicle when steering.

Nearly half of drivers (48%) do not check the tyre tread or pressure, and nearly three-quarters (70%) are in the dark over whether the car battery is working before setting off on a journey. Over a quarter (28%) even fail to pack essentials such as a de-icer and scraper.

Some motorists are also in danger of invalidating their insurance policy before they take to the road. During the morning rush to get on the road, half of drivers (48%) admit to using alternative items other than an ice scraper to defrost the windscreen of their car, such as credit cards (52%) and hot water (35%), which can weaken the glass and cause it to break. Two-fifths (44%) also admit to leaving the engine running with keys in the ignition – meaning they’re unlikely to be covered by their car insurance policy if their car is then stolen.

As the winter months are a notoriously hazardous time on the roads, with ice and snow making driving conditions on some of the highest risk roads even worse, comparethemarket.com has created an interactive map to help make drivers more vigilant by identifying the persistently high risk roads where the most accidents have occurred. Over the last year, Macclesfield’s Cat and Fiddle road (A537), the A254 on the Isle of Thanet in East Kent, and the A259 in the South East were considered the top three most hazardous roads.

The UKs dangerous roads
Kris Jones

Kris Jones

Product Expert


“Bad weather can cause chaos on the roads, but there are ways motorists could minimise these risks during the winter months. Drivers must accept the need to adapt the way they drive on icy roads – reducing their speed as well as increasing the distance between the car in front could make all the difference as breaking speed and distance changes dramatically in wet and icy conditions. Make sure your vehicle is winter road ready by fitting winter tyres, this could improve traction in slippery conditions.

“In the fact of adverse weather conditions, drivers could also review their car insurance policy to make sure they’re aware and comfortable with the level of cover provided. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have adequate breakdown cover, which will provide peace of mind knowing you won’t end up stranded in the cold! Finally, be sure to remember to take handy contact phone numbers with you on all journeys just in case you need them.”