Dramatic Increase In Road Accidents Due To Fog And Ice

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Staveley Head have reported this week’s ice and fog in the south of England has once again brought chaos to the roads. Many drivers, unused to dealing with the wintry conditions, have again been caught unprepared for the onset of winter.

The number of accidents occurring on icy roads in Winter could be reduced considerably if only drivers would remain more aware of the conditions in which they are driving

Staveley Head have reported this week’s ice and fog in the south of England has once again brought chaos to the roads. Many drivers, unused to dealing with the wintry conditions, have again been caught unprepared for the onset of winter.

The AA estimated that they had 13,000 call-outs to breakdowns on Tuesday, a third higher than usual. It is thought the increase was due to minor accidents caused by drivers going too fast in hazardous conditions and an increase in home-start call-outs. Apparently most of the accidents occurred on B-roads which have a lower local authority priority for gritting.

The long cold spell experienced last winter caused problems for many local authorities as stocks of salt ran dangerously low and had to be rationed. In the wake of that problem the Department for Transport (DfT) issued advice that local authorities should hold sufficient stocks of salt to carry out 48 de-icing runs over a 12 days period. Local authorities do of course prioritise the gritting of road, giving first attention to motorways and main thoroughfares and working down to B and local roads.

In the midlands there have been four reported cases of what has become known as “frosting”. This is when a driver leaves his car engine running to defrost the windows and leaves the vehicle unattended, at which time a passing opportunist is easily able to steal the vehicle.

A spokesman for Staveley Head, one of the UK’s leading motor trade insurance providers, said “The number of accidents occurring on icy roads in Winter could be reduced considerably if only drivers would remain more aware of the conditions in which they are driving. Reduce speed and think ahead. It takes ten times longer to stop on an icy road than it does on a normal road. Before leaving the driveway make sure all windows are fully defrosted and have good visibility, all lights and wipers are working and the car engine is running at normal temperature.”

Some sources are predicting an even colder winter than we had last year, and this is just the start of it. In the coming months local authorities must ensure that roads are gritted quickly and thoroughly, but drivers can also play their part by acting responsibly and recognising the added dangers on icy roads and adjusting their driving patterns accordingly.

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Ashley Peters