Warning over winter weather accidents

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One in three drivers in St Helens have had an accident or near miss due to winter weather, according to a new survey.

Motoring accident specialists, Michael Jefferies Injury Lawyers, found that residents have dangerously poor knowledge when winter hits, with over half (56 per cent) unsure of the correct way to deal with their car skidding on ice or snow.

A quarter (25 per cent) of drivers would put their hazard lights on or sharply apply the brakes (16 per cent) in the event of skidding, instead of correctly turning into the skid and allowing the car to reduce speed gradually.

Not knowing how to properly deal with wintery conditions has led to a feeling of unease on the roads, with a third of St Helens motorists (27 per cent) scared to drive in snowy or icy conditions.

Cyclists under cover of darkness are also a big concern for drivers in the area, with a fifth (20 per cent) of respondents worried they wouldn’t spot a bike rider.

When it comes to preparation, a shocking amount of St Helens residents are not ready to tackle the winter roads – with more drivers having a mobile phone charger (31 per cent) to hand in the car than an essential snow shovel (28 per cent) or even an A-Z road map (27 per cent) in case the car battery and sat nav die.

Michael Jefferies, managing director of Michael Jefferies Injury Lawyers comments: “It’s surprising to see how many people have accidents or near misses in winter weather. Snow and ice are inevitable conditions every winter, so it’s crucial that motorists take extra steps to ensure that they stay safe.

“Make winter travelling easier and safer, by allowing extra time in the morning to clear your car exterior from frost and snow - make sure to use lukewarm water or de-icer and avoid hot or boiling water.

“Before turning the ignition on, check your autowiper is off as this could blow the wiper fuse if they are frozen to the screen. We see a lot road accidents in the winter – many of which could be prevented.”

To raise awareness of winter safety, Michael Jefferies Injury Lawyers also handed out reflective bands for cycling and walking in the dark to local schools in the Manchester areas, as part of Road Safety Week (21-27 November).

For more tips on how to stay safe when driving in the winter, visit here.