UK

Cities where winter conditions catch out the most drivers

With much of the country experiencing icy conditions and snow in the last week and weather warnings for the coming days for more of the white stuff, below freezing temperatures and risks of flooding, research has revealed which UK cities historically have the highest percentage of road collisions caused by winter conditions.

Glasgow tops the table, with 2,012 recorded incidents between 2015 and 2019 caused by drivers crashing in the snow, ice and rain, according to analysis of Department for Transport and Office for National Statistics data by warranty provider, MotorEasy.

The figures suggest that winter conditions accounts for almost two in five accidents in the Scottish city over the five-year period. 

Glasgow is the UK with the highest percentage of crashes in snow, ice, rain and floods over a five-year period, according to a new study

The report comes after a weekend of torrential weather conditions and a spike in accidents across the UK.

Despite restrictions being in place for a third national lockdown, police and highways agencies were forced to close a number of major roads around the country over the weekend due to drivers crashing in the snow.

Central Motorway Police Group tweeted on Sunday an image of an overturned vehicle between junction 2 and 3 on the M54 near Wolverhampton and warned it had attended four traffic collisions in the area by 8:41 this morning, including a car that had lost control in the snow on the M6. 

Closures on other major routes, including the M1, and reports of vehicles stranded in the snow meant an unusually busy weekend for police, recovery firms and insurers.

And with more harsh winter conditions predicted in the coming days, there are parts of the country where motorists are more likely to be involved in incidents.

UK ROAD ACCIDENTS IN WNTERY CONDITIONS 2015-2019
City Accidents by rain/flooding Accidents by snow/ice As a % of all road accidents
Glasgow 1,906 106   38.0% (5,301)
Manchester 1,213 31  28.3% (4,389) 
Sheffield  1,376 82  27.6% (5,284) 
Edinburgh 1,207  78  27.6% (4,657) 
Bristol 1,147  38  25.1% (4,727) 
Leeds 2,031  123   25.0% (8,615)
Birmingham 3,171  152   24.2% (13,718)
Bradford 1,102  119  23.4% (5,208) 
Liverpool 1,122  25  23.2% (4,936) 
London 23,401  780  18.8% (128,449) 
Source: MotorEasy analysis of Department for Transport and Office of National Statistics data 

Historical data from the DfT and ONS, reviewed by MotorEasy, suggests that 38 per cent of all road traffic collisions in Glasgow occur when roads are snow covered, icy, wet or flooded.  

Manchester was second in the list, with 28.3 per cent of road collisions in the city caused occurring in these conditions.

Sheffield and Edinburgh were joint third with 27.6 per cent, according to the research.

Central Motorway Police Unit posted this image on Twitter on Sunday as it attended an RTC on the M54 between junctions 3 and 2. 'Please slow down and drive to the conditions,' its said

Central Motorway Police Unit posted this image on Twitter on Sunday as it attended an RTC on the M54 between junctions 3 and 2. ‘Please slow down and drive to the conditions,’ its said

Despite Sunday's warning to motorists, CMPG this morning confirmed it had already been to four traffic collisions on the network by 8:41am, including this vehicle that had lost control at junction 8 M6

Despite Sunday’s warning to motorists, CMPG this morning confirmed it had already been to four traffic collisions on the network by 8:41am, including this vehicle that had lost control at junction 8 M6

London had by far the largest volume of reported road accidents of all cities in the report, with just over 24,000 cases in the five-year period.

However, these accounted for just 18.8 per cent of all crashes on the capital’s roads. 

Duncan McClure Fisher, founder of MotorEasy, said: ‘Wintery conditions clearly account for a large portion of UK road accidents. 

‘On average, more than 20 per cent of accidents occur on wet or icy roads, but for some cities the figures are even more alarming – jumping to nearly 30 per cent in Manchester and 40 per cent in Glasgow. 

‘Having your car properly maintained and serviced can keep it in its best condition ahead of the winter months, and if you are involved in a bump or a scrape, repair plans can help with the cost.’

Leicestershire Road Policing Unit said on Sunday that the M1 Junction 22 South had been closed due to a 5-car accident in the snow

Leicestershire Road Policing Unit said on Sunday that the M1 Junction 22 South had been closed due to a 5-car accident in the snow

One road police unit for Leicestershire said at 10:17 this morning that it had been to 10 accidents on the M1, M69, A42 so far today

One road police unit for Leicestershire said at 10:17 this morning that it had been to 10 accidents on the M1, M69, A42 so far today

Drivers continue to be warned by motoring groups to ensure they clear all snow from the windscreens and windows of their cars, and also the vehicle’s roof.

In the ‘driving in adverse weather conditions’ section of the Highway Code, rule 229 states motorists must clear all snow and ice from all windows, endure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible, make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly and remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users.

This is supported by the section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988, meaning it is a legal requirement to have a clear view of the road ahead before you set off.

Failure to do so could incur a fine of £60 and three penalty points for risking the lives of drivers, passengers and other road users.

Despite this, a recent survey of 2,000 motorists by findandfundmycar.com revealed that almost two thirds (63 per cent) of Britons will drive a car with snow on the roof. 

AA’s top winter driving tips 

Before you set off

– Allow extra time for winter journeys.

– Plan routes around major roads, which are more likely to be cleared and gritted.

– Try to get up at least 10 minutes early to give you time to de-ice the car.

– Wear comfortable, dry shoes for driving so your feet don’t slip on the pedals.

– Check fuel levels – have at least a quarter of a tank in case of unexpected delays.

– Clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer and wait until the windscreen’s fully demisted.

– If you drive an automatic, check the handbook – some have a winter mode or recommend selecting ‘2’ in slippery conditions.

Driving on winter roads

– Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.

– If you have to use your brakes, apply them gently.

– Driving uphill – leave plenty of room between other cars or wait until it’s clear so you don’t have to stop part way up. Keep a constant speed and try to avoid having to change gear on the hill.

– Driving downhill – slow down before the hill, use a low gear and try to avoid braking. Leave as much room as you can after the car in front.

If you get stuck in snow or ice

– If you get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels.

– Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip.

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