Perils of driving in winter highlighted

Motorists can take safety measures during the winter months
Motorists can take safety measures during the winter months

A quarter of St Helens motorists have either had an accident or near miss due to winter driving conditions, a new survey claims.

The figures are being used to highlight the steps drivers can take to avoid serious commuting mishaps.

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

A quarter of drivers would put their hazard lights on or sharply apply the brakes 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 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, the survey found.

Michael Jefferies, managing director, said: “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 auto-wiper 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.”