Winter risks: Road Traffic Accidents

driving on winter roads risksFor the last few weeks, we have been looking at the types of accident you may be susceptible to this winter. Finally, we turn to the last instalment in the series in our focus on road traffic accidents and the tips you may follow to try and avoid one this winter.

As the months get cooler, daylight hours are reduced, the weather starts to worsen, and visibility can be significantly reduced during the daytime and at night. All of these factors in addition to busy roads can contribute to a road traffic accident occurring, and can leave the people involved seriously injured.

To prevent any seasonal festivities being ruined, it is important that you drive carefully and properly maintain your vehicle. Driving cautiously can help to reduce the risk of accidents occurring, especially when going over terrain that you are unsure of. For instance, when driving on icy or snowy roads, you should give plenty of room to the car in front of you, allowing yourself enough time to stop and maintain control of the car should other road users brake abruptly.

Worn tyres can be hazardous at the best of times. Combine this with an icy road surface and it may be lethal, for yourself and other road users alike. Tyres are an important part of any vehicle that keep it on the road, so it is important that they are well maintained. The tread of the tyre is particularly important in winter as it reduces stopping distance and allows you greater control of the car in wet or icy weather conditions. The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm.[1] If your tyres are below this limit, then you should get them replaced immediately.

It is important as a driver, to make sure all the lights on your vehicle are working and that the lenses are clean. This will help to increase your visibility and avoid any hazards.

Planning your journeys well in advance can prevent you rushing and causing an accident as a result. This involves planning around routes that may contain ice or snow, opting for safer, gritted areas. You may also want to consider setting off earlier, and factor in the harsh weather conditions, allowing plenty of time for you to safely get to your destination. Also, when the weather is particularly bad, you may need to allow extra time for the car to defrost before setting off.

Pedestrian accidents are also a risk in the colder months. The days grow darker quicker, visibility can be massively reduced and as such pedestrians are at a greater risk of being involved in a road traffic accident. To avoid any injuries when daylight hours are reduced, it is advised that pedestrians wear bright, reflective colours and stick to well-lit areas. It may also be handy to carry a torch as well so that drivers have a greater chance of seeing you and so that you can see underfoot.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, not all accidents are avoidable. The specialist solicitors at Smith Jones recognise how traumatic it can be to be involved in a road traffic accident, especially if it is round the festive period. Our team use their many years of experience to maximise the amount of compensation you may be entitled to and get you the care and attention you deserve.

If you, or someone you know has been involved in a road traffic accident this winter, then call our Freephone Helpline on 0800 195 9590 for advice.


[1] AA, Legal Limit/Tread Depth <>