Car chaos as snow and ice dominate Britain
Car accidents are inevitable when snow falls and laces our streets and roads with slippery and dangerous ice.
However, despite the AA insurance being reasonably prepared for accident claims this 2009, they were still surprised at the extent of phone calls they received on one day alone.
The 18th December saw the broker’s department handle 100 claims for snow and ice related crashes before they even settled down for lunch.
Many collisions were familiar, such as hitting other moving vehicles on roundabouts, bends and junctions or hitting vehicles in a tail-end shunt.
However, they were shocked by the rest of the claims they received which were an array of all things related to catastrophic collisions.
Examples included two lorry drivers who had snow on their vehicles but didn’t wipe it off. Their laxness caused a seven-car-pile up while the lorry disappeared, the driver oblivious to the mayhem left behind.
One man filed a claim after he had safely parked his car only to hear a series of crunches. He later found out that his car and five others nearby had been damaged by vehicles sliding out of control around a close bend.
Extending the previous story – a car might not even be safe if it's parked in its own drive – as two customers had their cars hit by an out-of-control vehicle, one being struck so violently that it pushed his car through his own garage door!
Out of control cars have struck lamp posts, walls, hedges, fences, signboards, barriers and bollards. One ended up overturning a telephone box - fortunately not occupied and another finished up, according to the customer, in a skip.
One car was overturned by a ditch and finished up sliding like a tea-tray over the snow to hit a tree while another ‘leaped' back out of a ditch and into a roadside barn.
But perhaps the unluckiest customer of all was a gentleman who decided not to risk driving in the snow but called a taxi instead. Safely in the back seat the taxi driver set off but immediately lost control. To the gentleman's horror, it skidded - and crashed into his own car. Oh the irony!
Brakes and skates
As the winter weather makes driving conditions more difficult, new research from a popular mechanics has revealed that almost a million (980,000) drivers have caused an accident through a braking error.
Not so surprising given that the survey also reveals the majority of motorists’ braking styles to be well out of line with the Driving Standards Agency’s guidelines.
The information displayed that over 11million (35%) motorists were ‘gear grinders.’ This is when they use the gears to slow down – using the brakes as little as possible.
Although this technique used to be taught at driving schools it’s long since been abandoned in favour of using the brakes to slow down and changing gear to match the appropriate speed. Driving examiners can penalise gear grinders for unnecessary use of the gears.
The research also showed that 3.8 million motorists (11%) were ‘dabbers’, who keep their foot hovering over the brake pedal and dab the brakes when needed.
David White, Customer Services Director at the group said: “There’s a tendency for motorists to adopt different driving styles and braking is clearly no exception. Worryingly, some of the braking styles followed by motorists are a long way from what’s recommended and in certain conditions could be unsafe.
“A car’s brakes are so crucial to road safety that we advise motorists to have them checked regularly – especially the last minute leadfoots. It’s a quick and easy process and doesn’t have to be left until the car’s next service or MOT.”