Continental Tyres survey presents some chilling stats on winter driving
The firm carried out a survey among 3,000 drivers nationwide, including company car drivers, and asked whether they will be preparing their cars to travel in winter conditions and had some alarming results, including for fleet drivers.
The research revealed that nearly half of private motorists (45%) will not bother to check their tyres have the legal tread depth – fleet drivers are 11% more likely to do the safety checks.
It also emerged that fleet drivers were particularly bad at driving off without clearing the windscreen fully of ice, with one in three admitting to doing this regularly as they are "in too much of a rush".
And shockingly, over half of the fleet drivers questioned admitted to setting off without thinking as they are in "autopilot" mode. This is dangerous at any time of year, but particularly so during the often unpredictable conditions during winter.
The study also identified that only around one in four fleet drivers (28 per cent) will bother stowing water, warm clothes and food in their vehicles as temperatures plummet. However, the research did highlight that fleet drivers are five times more likely to have winter tyres fitted to their car as over a third of companies have a policy to fit the tyres during the winter months.
Continental’s safety study was timed to coincide with the launch of the website www.whywintertyres.co.uk, which offers winter driving advice and information on how winter tyres can improve road safety through better braking performance.
Tracey Hyem, a safety expert for Continental Tyres, said: 'While fleet drivers are generally better than other motorists with winter driving, they can still improve on basic safety checks to prepare for the conditions we will face.
'It is surprising that only a third of companies with fleets on the road have a winter driving policy, and it is clear more needs to be done.
'We would encourage all companies to fit winter tyres on fleet cars, as they are developed specifically to work more effectively in colder temperatures.
'Even if it doesn’t reach freezing point the rubber compound used in normal tyres starts to harden below seven degrees meaning less grip on the road and longer stopping distances.'