Opinion and insight from our Personal Injury team.
Driving in bad weather - reducing the risks
- AuthorCristina Parla
British Summer Time officially started on the last Sunday in March, but in another unprecedented event, many parts of the UK experienced temperatures below freezing and saw snow fall.
Weather in general always sparks conversation, and whilst snow and ice may look scenic, the downside can be the increased risk and danger to pedestrians and road users.
Since Boris Johnson announced national lock down, many of us will walk or cycle as a means of daily exercise, but there are still a number of essential journeys which need to be taken by road.
Icy roads and snow can have a significant impact on driving conditions which can lead to an increased risk of accidents. Some accidents are unavoidable but there are certain steps that you can take to safeguard yourself, and others, from the risk of injury.
Our top tips for safer driving during a cold snap:
It’s illegal and unsafe to drive without adequate levels of washer fluid
Don’t leave it to chance – check your washer fluid on a regular basis, top it up and carry spare windscreen wash - particularly on longer journeys. There are plenty of washer fluid options on the market, but it’s recommended that you invest in one which can melt ice should your screen freeze.
Check your windscreen washers and wiper blades
Extremely low temperatures can cause windscreen washers to freeze so there’s no point having adequate levels of windscreen wash if the washers do not work. Remember to unfreeze the water jets as well as your windscreen.Worn wiper blades can leave smear marks and obscure your view so you should also make sure that your wiper blades are free of damage and completely clear the windscreen when used.
Ensure you clear your vehicle of snow and ice before you start your journey
It is not sensible or safe to drive with frosted or partially frosted windows. Rule 229 of the Highway Code states: “You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows.”
It may sound common sense, but it’s amazing how many drivers still risk driving without a clear view of the road – we have all seen them when driving, and they are a danger to other road users as well as themselves.
A dirty registration plate is a breach of legislation
It’s illegal to drive with a dirty number plate. Rule 229 of The Highway Code states: "You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible.”
The DVLA are cracking down on this and with a maximum fine of up to £1,000 it simply isn’t worth the risk!
Even during this uncertain period of lock down, it’s still very important to keep on top of vehicle maintenance and to ensure that your vehicle is legally roadworthy – it’s an essential part of ownership. The rules referred to in The Highway Code are legal requirements. This means that if they are disobeyed, a criminal offence is committed which can result in a fine and penalty points on your driving licence.
It’s no coincidence that we receive a higher amount of accident claim enquiries during times of bad weather, and if you have been involved in a road traffic accident then please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of the team to discuss your claim.
In addition to any claim for personal injury, you are entitled to recover any financial losses and expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Such losses could include insurance policy excess, loss of earnings and property damage. There are also losses associated with the injury which you are entitled to recover including prescription charges, medication expenses and travel expenses for hospital and GP appointments. The best chance of recovering these losses is to retain whatever evidence you can in support of your claim.