One in three motorists admits they will drive this winter without being able to see out of their windscreen properly according to research by Continental Tyres.
This will mean six million close calls on our roads this winter, as nearly two million drivers were close to crashing at least three times in the last year because their windscreen wasn’t clear before setting off.
Researchers found most motorists think they are ‘in too much of a rush’ to fully defrost their windows and mirrors before heading off to work. It also emerged men are far worse than women at pulling off the driveway while peering through a tiny spot of clear glass at the road ahead.
Tim Bailey, safety expert at Continental Tyres, which polled 4,000 drivers said: ”Preparation is key when setting out in your car, especially during the winter months. It is essential to be able to see and be seen.
“An astonishing 52 per cent of people know it is wrong to drive without a fully clear windscreen but fail to do anything about it.
“Stopping distances are affected by weather and road conditions and people are six times more likely to have an accident during the winter months. Check your lights, ensure your windscreen and windows are clear, that your brakes are in good condition, your tyres have a minimum of 3mm of tread and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front.”
It also emerged that four out of ten motorists don’t bother cleaning mirrors or rear windows before setting off in the winter. And such is the lack of preparation that one in five have reported to using a credit card to clear the windscreen of ice.
Seven out of ten never check tyre tread depth and fail to ensure tyres are roadworthy, and one in two never put anti-freeze in radiators. Four out of ten don’t check windscreen washer bottle levels and a similar figure don’t bother to check whether their wipers are working properly. A quarter don’t even check if their lights are working.
Eight in 10 see other motorists on their daily commute who have been too lazy to clear their windscreen, an average of four cars every frosty morning.
The study also found one in four drivers admit they are often half asleep when they get behind the wheel in the morning. And they take at least four minutes to properly wake up after getting behind the wheel. If they are travelling at 30mph this means they will have travelled two miles before they feel awake. Almost four out of ten said they found it harder to stay alert during the winter.
One in five are under the wrong assumption that you’re supposed to drive ‘out of’ a skid when slipping on ice.
Tim Bailey continued: “When the temperature drops below 7°C, cold weather tyres which have tread patterns and compounds designed for wintry roads are certainly worth considering. They improve stopping distances in icy, wet and any snowy conditions we might experience in the coming months. Again, it’s all about being prepared so that you are safe in all eventualities this winter.”
For further information on driving safely this winter, visit www.tyresforlife.co.uk