Half of motorists’ fear driving in bad weather

Press Release | November 2023

New TTC insight reveals half of motorists’ fear driving in bad weather

Fleet managers can bolster confidence with clear guidance on winter driving and specialised training.

Recent research[1] commissioned by driver and fleet risk management expert, TTC, has revealed the negative impact winter weather has on drivers’ confidence and willingness to take to the road at night or in poor conditions. Nearly two thirds (62%) of drivers surveyed said they feel intimidated driving on icy roads; 60% in snow and over half (54%) in stormy weather. 

[1] Survey of 300 motorists via Maruhub, October 2023

“The end of October signals the start of one of the most testing times of the year to be driving, and our latest research confirms that the majority of drivers lack confidence in adapting to winter conditions”, Jim Kirkwood, CEO of TTC (pictured) explained.  “If their job involves driving for work, employees can feel obliged to make a journey. But it shouldn’t be left to them to judge if a journey is necessary if weather conditions are severe. 

“Fleet and business travel managers should give employees clear advice on what is deemed a ‘necessary journey’ to help avoid driving in dangerous conditions. Along with appropriate training to give drivers the skills to cope with challenging weather while on the road, fleet managers can also fulfil their Duty of Care obligations.”

According to the TTC survey, it is not only bad weather that is unsettling for drivers in the winter. Shortened days leave 56% struggling with the glare of oncoming headlights when driving in the dark. 69% of those who wear glasses for driving find this intimidating compared to 45% of those who do not.  Reminding drivers of simple techniques, including turning down the interior lights on a vehicle and how to look after potentially tired eyes can help reinforce employee confidence.

Pedestrians crossing in the dark as well as cyclists also made drivers surveyed by TTC nervous. With recent changes to The Highway Code giving pedestrians and cyclists clearer and stronger priority on UK roads, this is another important area of focus for driver training.

Jim Kirkwood continued: “It is understandable that reduced visibility causes stress for drivers, but a clear winter driving policy can empower fleet and regular car-driving employees.  Drivers need to know exactly what their employer expects of them. For example, issuing timely advice if snow is forecast, will give employees the direction to embrace virtual working or rearrange important site visits and meetings. Additional winter driver training is also critical, especially for drivers of vans and HGVs where being off the road is less of an option. By doing so, and reviewing these skills regularly, companies can arm employees with the confidence to make reasoned decisions about travel plans and navigate the UK’s roads during the winter months, as well as avoid the cost of an incident.”

TTC Tips for safer winter driving

  • Create winter fleet and travel policies – to mitigate risk and liability, fleets should have a policy regarding poor road conditions, making it clear when drivers are expected to avoid travelling and any action they can take to reduce risk for necessary journeys.
  • Prepare vehicles – company car drivers should ensure windows and mirrors are clean, inside and out, and all lights are working. Fleet managers should consider fitting company vehicles with all weather or winter tyres to increase grip in poor conditions.
  • Drive for the road and weather conditions – drivers should be reminded to keep braking distances and low visibility in mind as well as brake and accelerate more gently and keep their speed well below the limit in poor conditions. 
  • Getting lights right – drivers should also be reminded to only use their fog lights when visibility is reduced down to 100m, and their main beam in rural areas when no other road user is in sight.
  • Take the pressure off – company drivers must be allowed more time for their journeys so that they are not in a hurry and stressed, which could increase the risk of incident or collision. 
  • Break it up – on longer journeys drivers must be given time to take regular breaks to reduce fatigue. Those who wear glasses to drive may need more breaks as their eyes will tire more quickly.