New research has revealed that many British drivers are unaware of the correct action to take in poor weather conditions. Our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.
The survey, conducted by Euro Car Parts, showed the actions motorists think they should take in wet, icy and snowy weather – and it may be enough to consider dusting off our old theory test books to refresh our driving knowledge.
68% of UK motorists think the best way to drive on icy and snowy roads is in the lowest gear, when in fact using the highest possible gear is the safest option. Unbelievably, 5% think driving in neutral is the most suitable gear to use in the snow.
It’s not just gears that UK drivers struggle with; when asked which lighting is best in heavy snow, less than a quarter (24%) answered correctly with dipped beams. Over a third (35%) admitted to switching on the fog lights, despite this being dangerous to other motorists in non-foggy conditions.
Over a third of people (36%) would do the wrong manoeuvre if they were to get into a spin in poor weather conditions. 18-24 year olds are least likely to drive correctly in bad weather, despite passing their tests within the last seven years. Nearly a quarter (23%) of this age group believe the best action to take in a spin would be to brake as hard as possible and a tenth (10%) think that using the handbrake is the best form of braking in the snow.
Astonishingly, 15% of UK drivers said they wouldn’t use their brakes at all in wet, icy or snowy weather, but leave the car to roll to a stop instead.
Euro Car Parts’ UK Chief, Martin Gray said: “Although British roads are generally only hazardous for a short part of the year, it’s good to take a moment to refresh your knowledge on what to do in difficult weather. Bad weather can mean more cars are on the road, and we’re often running later than usual which can lead to careless driving. It’s important to take the extra time preparing your vehicle and keeping your distance from others to avoid any accidents and stay safe this winter.”