Driving in winter: What are the most dangerous road conditions?

Driving in winter: What are the most dangerous road conditions? 30th November 2015

Winter driving is inherently more dangerous than at any other time of the year, with difficult conditions and fewer hours of daylight for drivers to contend with. 

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has launched a new winter driving campaign, entitled #wheelsinwinter that it hopes to use to promote safety at this time of year. As part of this campaign, it announced there was a rise in the number of collisions taking place after dark in 2014, compared to 2010.

This highlights how dangerous it has become to drive in treacherous night-time conditions, and the rise in the number of accidents will be a worrying statistic. 

But do you know what are the most dangerous conditions of all to drive in? Of course, drivers should be exercising extra safety in any weather throughout winter, but it can help to know the most treacherous conditions so you know when to be extra vigilant on the roads. 

According to the findings from IAM, the most difficult of weather conditions to deal with are wet roads. While most of us would expect snow and ice to be the biggest contributor, IAM said 12,445 accidents last year took place in the dark when roads were wet or flooded. 

In second place is slippery roads, causing more than 1,200 accidents in winter 2014. Meanwhile, snow, sleet and ice, perhaps because people are generally more vigilant when poor weather conditions are easier to see, contributed to 368 collisions in the same period. 

Sarah Sillars, chief executive officer at the IAM, said: “It is clear from the statistics that people need to change their driving behaviour when faced with poor weather conditions and more hours of darkness.

“Winter driving needn’t be difficult, and with a few small changes driving in bad weather conditions can be made far safer and more enjoyable. We advise motorists to avoid travelling in severe weather conditions – could you delay that visit to the shops or walk to school instead? But if you do need to travel, prepare properly and read our advice to ensure you and your loved ones are safe.”

There are a number of ways drivers can strive to make sure they are staying safe in winter. From changing lightbulbs and wiper blades to having winter tyres fitted, to simply being vigilant, taking extra time and care on the road and leaving plenty of space for other drivers. Every little helps when it comes to staying safe on every journey at this time of the year. 

Posted by Danielle Barge