With widespread snow and severe frost forecast across the UK this week, leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is warning motorists to take extreme care – especially on untreated rural roads.
The insurer is concerned that following a mild winter to date across much of the country, the sudden icy blast with several inches of snow and temperatures down to -7C forecast could catch motorists unprepared.
The heaviest snow fall is expected across Scotland and the north of England – but snow showers and severe frosts are forecast to spread south to the Midlands, South East England and into Wales and the South West.
Tim Price, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Most of the country has had a mild winter without any snow until now – but the next few days are likely to see widespread snow and very icy conditions leading to hazardous driving conditions.
“While motorways and main roads are likely to be gritted, many rural roads won’t be cleared – so extreme care will be required. The forecast for several inches of snow followed by thaws in the day and hard frosts can lead to black ice so drivers should slow down and take extreme care if they have to use rural routes.”
NFU Mutual, which insures three quarters of the UK’s farmers together with thousands of homes, cars and rural businesses, is extending insurance cover free of charge to its farming policyholders to enable them to use their tractors to help clear snow from blocked roads.
NFU Mutual rural driving tips:
Whether you live in the countryside or are an infrequent visitor, these tips for rural driving should help you stay safe and avoid the hazards.
* Plan your journey before you set off and give thought to locations that might be badly affected and monitor local weather forecasts.
* Leave at least twice as much space as normal between you and the vehicle in front
* Tell family or friends where you are going and when you expect to get there
* Tune radios into local stations to get regular updates on conditions and road closures
* Don’t make harsh or sharp movements, when you brake and accelerate do it slowly and smoothly
* Drive slowly in as high a gear as possible
* Keep your windscreen, windows and mirrors clean and free of ice and ensure your washers are tapped up with winter-ready screen fluid.
* Keep a torch, blanket, a bottle of water and a chocolate bar or two in the car
* Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged
For more tips on driving in icy conditions visit www.nfumutual.com.