Transport: Drivers 'ill prepared for wintry weather'

Drivers are ill-prepared for the next bout of severe wintry weather, according to an AA/Populus survey.

As many as 44% of the 15,927 AA members questioned have done nothing to cope with the expected Arctic conditions.

Male drivers and those aged 25-34 were most likely to have done nothing to prepare, with those over 65 most likely to have taken action.

Of those who have taken steps to combat the cold, 39% have put a shovel or blankets in the car and 19% have bought a pair of study boots.

A total of 6% have made arrangements to stay with family or friends if they get stranded, while 3% have bought winter tyres and 1% have bought snow chains.

A total of 51% of those questioned expect road gritting to be better than last year, with 41% expecting it to be about the same and the rest reckoning it will be worse.

Drivers in areas that have already experienced the worst of the snow - the north east of England and Scotland - were most likely to think gritting will get worse.

The poll took place between November 26 and December 3.

AA president Edmund King said: "We are concerned that some drivers have not made enough preparations for the severe winter conditions on the roads. With good reason Scottish drivers have done most to prepare. Those preparations were warranted as many drivers have experienced horrendous conditions on the roads in Scotland already this winter.

"A small majority think that highway authorities are better prepared

than last year to grit the roads but a large proportion of drivers are still cynical about this. Highway authorities will be under great pressure as their dwindling salt supplies are stretched as the Arctic spell continues.

"Winter tyres are certainly becoming more popular with UK drivers particularly with those in areas most often hit by snow."

Flora Mewies of Ward Hadaway

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