Published today, the research, based on a survey of 2,000 UK drivers, found that a third admit to not driving slower in wet weather conditions. Concerningly, nearly a third of UK drivers also admit to having driven over the speed limit in the wet across all road types - urban, rural and motorway – and a shocking 7% state that they tend to increase their speed in wet weather compared to dry.
The findings also indicate younger drivers are driving more dangerously than their older counterparts in wet conditions, but that unsafe driving behaviour is prevalent across all age groups. More than half of 18-24-year olds admit to not slowing down in the wet, compared to almost a quarter of those 45 and over. Nearly half of 18-24 year olds also admit to having driven over the speed limit in the wet, on all road types, compared to almost a quarter of those aged 45 and over.
In 2019, an average of 4 deaths and serious injuries a day (1,292 in total) were caused, in part, by a ‘slippery road (due to weather)’ – these ‘contributory factors’ are assigned by a police officer attending the scene of an incident.
Brake and Green Flag also explored drivers’ understating of the impact of rain on the roads. Their research found that more than two thirds of drivers’ underestimate stopping distances in the wet, highlighting that a lack of understanding could be a factor in dangerous wet weather driving.
The Highway Code states that in wet weather, stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads, due to the lack of tyre grip, yet just over a quarter of those surveyed opted for the correct answer. 4 in 10 drivers surveyed thought stopping distances on wet roads were approximately 50% further than on dry roads and 1 in 10 thought that stopping distances were the same in both weather conditions.
Brake and Green Flag are urging all drivers to pay attention to the unsettled weather conditions and to slow down in the wet, reminding them of the need to keep well back from the vehicle in front as the rain and spray makes it difficult to see and be seen.
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “With wet weather forecast across the UK and concerning reports of increased speeding on the roads during previous lockdowns, drivers must remember that slippery roads require slower driving. Stopping distances more than double in the wet and yet many drivers remain unaware of this vital fact which could help prevent a serious collision. We urge the Government to do more to ensure that all drivers have read and understood the Highway Code, making sure they have the right knowledge to be safe on the roads.
“We urge everyone to slow down when the road is wet and slippery and keep well back from the vehicle in front as rain and spray can make it difficult to see and be seen.”
Mark Newberry, Commercial Director at Green Flag, commented: “Wet weather makes for more difficult driving conditions that should not be underestimated. Our research shows, a third of UK drivers admit to not slowing down, despite poor weather conditions - not only does travelling at a high speed affect stopping distance and a vehicle's general grip on the road, additional surface water can result in aquaplaning, which, when combined with poor visibility can make driving extremely dangerous.
“Taking extra care and adapting to wet and icy weather conditions by reducing speed and increasing braking distances can give drivers extra seconds to react and has the potential to prevent a serious collision. Headlights are also crucial to help boost visibility, not only for drivers to see better themselves, but be seen by others, too.
“To prepare for your journey, check the weather forecast before setting off - pack a coat, umbrella and ensure mobile phones are fully charged, look out for each other and stay safe."
Winter months generally bring colder weather conditions and drivers can experience snow, ice, rain and fog. The Highway Code advises drivers to keep well back from the road user in front and warns that stopping distances in icy conditions can be ten times greater than those on dry roads.
Notes to editors:
 2,000 UK drivers were surveyed by independent research company, Surveygoo, on behalf of Brake and Green Flag in March 2020.
 How do you drive in wet weather conditions?
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.
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