With temperatures in parts of the country dropping to well below zero degrees, Thompsons Solicitors is urging motorists to consider the effect of the icy roads on their driving.

This week has seen particularly frosty conditions, with temperatures in parts of Oxfordshire and Bournemouth reaching a bitter minus eight.

The wintery conditions have led to many road closures throughout the UK due to the rain, snow, sleet and ice, all of which can increase the risk of road traffic accidents. Many local councils and fire services are also advising drivers to avoid untreated roads wherever possible with black ice and frost covering many areas.

It is important to adapt your driving to the icy weather, so try to remember these tips:

  • If you hit a patch of black ice, don’t slam on the brakes. Take your foot off the accelerator, allow the vehicle to naturally slow down, and gently steer in the direction of the skid, attempting to head to an area of traction.
  • Listen to your vehicle. If your tyres are not making any noise, it could be a sign that you are driving on ice and should be extremely cautious. Consider keeping the radio down so you can remain extra vigilant.
  • Stopping distances should be increased by up to ten times to account for the more slippery surfaces so drive slower and keep further away from vehicles in front.
  • Choose footwear with a lot of grip – if you’re walking over ice and then driving, your feet may be more likely to slip off the pedals.
  • Make sure that all of your windows are clear of any ice or frost before you embark on a journey.
  • Check your local traffic and weather updates frequently to see if any road closures will affect your journey or if any roads are particularly treacherous.

David Robinson, a senior serious injury and road traffic accident specialist based in Thompsons Solicitors' Newcastle office, said: “This week in particular has seen a notable drop in temperature, which will naturally affect the country’s roads.

“Snow and frost patches are obvious to see, but black ice is a particularly dangerous threat, so it is really important for road users to adjust their driving style accordingly and take their journeys slowly and steadily when conditions are bad to ensure the safety of others drivers, pedestrians and cyclists."