Monday, December 16 is set to be the most dangerous day for driving in December, an insurance provider has said.
Analysis of more than five billion miles of motoring by telematics-based insurer InsureTheBox found that December 16 was the second most dangerous day of the year in terms of accidents. As a result, the insurance company says it is “particularly concerned” about the safety of young and inexperienced drivers who may be confronting wintry driving conditions for the first time.
The firm has therefore released a collection of tips for young drivers, including guidance on making sure the vehicle is in good repair and driving in adverse conditions. The company recommends that drivers make sure their tyres have enough tread, as well as keeping headlights and windows clear and ensuring wipers are working effectively.
Furthermore, InsureTheBox suggests adjusting road speed and following distances to mitigate the effects of slippery roads, while brakes should be applied gently on snow and ice. The company also suggests packing an emergency kit with warm clothing and other breakdown “essentials” such as reflective gear, a blanket, torch and phone charger, plus food and drink.
Gary Stewart, service manager at InsureTheBox, said challenging conditions could be “daunting” for new drivers, who should be vigilant when driving in bad weather.
“Wintry driving conditions can be a challenge for even the most experienced drivers – and for new drivers black ice, snow or heavy rain can be especially daunting,” he said. “They can be caught out by black ice on an ungritted road or temporarily blinded by the glare of the bright winter sun.
“Now we are well and truly in the winter months, it’s important, particularly for new drivers, to know how to react in different weather conditions and to spot the potential hazards. For instance, in wet weather, stopping distances could double and may be 10 times greater on icy roads. And rural roads are especially hazardous for younger drivers, due to higher speed limits, tight corners and narrow lanes. Plus, the risks increase as overhanging trees mean ice may linger for longer and surfaces may not be gritted as well as on main roads.
“In severe weather, breakdown services will be stretched, and drivers could find themselves waiting for an extended period of time for help to arrive. So it’s crucial drivers and passengers have the means to keep themselves warm and well in severe conditions. But by taking time to understand the risks and adjust their behaviour, young drivers can stay safe this winter.”