Last year, an average of 73 people were killed per day on Britain’s roads. The stats come from a report conducted by insurance provider Ageas and the Road Safety Foundation. They highlighted the 40 riskiest roads in the UK which had a minimum of one serious or fatal crash per mile between 2013 and 2016. Find out if you drive on Britain’s most dangerous roads on this interactive map.
With shorter days and temperamental weather, winter is one of the biggest times for road accidents in the UK. We’ve come up with some of the most useful road safety tips for the winter including what to take with you, how to be more visible on the road and what to do if you witness an accident.
Prep before you start your journey
There are a few essentials you’ll need to keep in your car at all times if you’re driving in the winter:
- First aid kit
- Portable phone charger
- Jump leads
- Ice scraper
- Snow shovel
- De-icer spray
- High-vis jacket
- Sunglasses (for the low-lying winter sun!)
- Jerry can
- Reflective warning triangle
- Road atlas
A lot of these items can be bought together in specialised car maintenance kits. They usually come in a bright yellow holdall and contain most of the things you need in case of an emergency or a breakdown.
Another vital thing to note is Rule 229 in the Highway Code. This that you must be able to see clearly through all your windows and both your number plates should be visible. That means you should clear all your windows and mirrors of ice and snow before you set off. If you commute to work in the car then it’s a good idea to give yourself extra time to de-ice the car.
Know your stopping distances
Normally, the stopping distance can be calculated by adding together thinking distance and braking distance. But snow, ice and rain can increase a car’s stopping distance by up to 10 times. Take a look at the examples below:
|Miles per hour (MPH)||Normal stopping distance (meters)|
Stopping distance in
As you can see, if you’re going 70mph on an icy road then it’ll take you almost one kilometer to come to a complete stop! It’s worth remembering this, as it can save lives. Don’t be afraid to drive a little slower than usual on icy roads – it’ll make it a lot easier for you to react and stop in time.
How can I be more visible on the road in winter?
It goes without saying that cyclists and motorcyclists should remain as visible as possible – but what above car drivers? Here are a few quick tips to be more visible in a car in the winter…
- Turn your headlights on an hour before sunset and the hour after sunrise
- Make sure all your light covers are clean and not dimmed by dirt and dust
- Make sure all your lights are working properly – if not, you should replace them as soon as possible
- Don’t dazzle the other drivers – you should use your dipped headlights when another car is driving towards you
- If you break down on the road, make sure you wear high-vis clothing so other drivers can see you
What should I do if I see a car accident?
Although it can be traumatic witnessing an accident (let alone being in one!), there are several things you can do if you witness a car accident.
Firstly, if you want to get out of your vehicle and help then make sure it’s safe to stop – and put your hazard lights on to warn other cars. It’s also essential to remember not to move any cars involved in the accident or any debris scattered in the road.
Don’t move anyone involved in the accident unless the emergency services have given you the green light, as you could worsen their injuries. You can, however, cover them in a blanket – which is especially helpful if they’re suffering from shock.
Phone 999 as soon as you can and explain what happened. The people involved in the accident may not look injured but they should be checked over for any signs of internal injuries. If the accident happened on a motorway then use the orange SOS phones on the side of the road, as they can give the emergency services a more precise location.
If you have a dashcam then the footage of an accident could be very helpful for insurance purposes or even a court case. It’s now possible to upload your dashcam footage directly onto your local police database. Just use the Nextbase map to find out where to submit your footage. People who witness an accident in Wales can also use the Operation SNAP website to upload their dashcam footage, along with any supporting details.
It’s always important to remember that if someone is involved in an accident and drives away from it then they could face 6 months in prison or be fined up to £5,000.
Have you been in a car accident? You may be eligible for compensation. At Birchall Blackburn Law we have access to bespoke case management systems so we can help you pursue your insurance claim quickly and efficiently.