MOTORISTS hitting the road today face the most dangerous day of the year to drive.
A third more insurance claims are made on January 18 than any other date thanks to biting temperatures and icy conditions.
More accidents are reported during the wintry weather, while drivers are said to be feeling more stressed.
This, combined with low visibility and wet road surfaces, mean an increase in claims.
Data from Admiral Motor Insurance from the last 10 years shows November and December are the worst months for mishaps.
But the most treacherous day of all is January 18 when 33 per cent more motoring claims are made compared with the average throughout the year.
Lorna Connelly, head of claims at Admiral, said: “More of us travel by car in the colder months, so combine that with wetter weather and icier road conditions and driving becomes more risky in the winter.
“Our claims analysis from the last 10 years found that more road accidents happen on 18 January than on any other date, with around 33 per cent more claims on this day compared with the average day throughout the year.
“Poor weather combined with busier roads and stressed drivers, as we return from the Christmas break could all be contributing factors.
“While November and December are overall the most treacherous months, with the most accidents, January 18 is overall the date of the year we see the highest number of accident claims.”
Drivers are advised to take extra care today as the mercury drops and forecasters issued a freezing fog warning.
“Bad weather is unavoidable at times, but planning ahead by leaving early, mapping your route and using our handy winter driving guide, can put you on course for a safer, stress-free journey,” Ms Connelly said.
Safety experts at car warranty company MotorEasy also issued five key things to remember when driving during winter.
Firstly, motorists should always check for traffic updates before setting off.
Have a look at Highways England or local authority social media pages for real-tile updates.
Secondly, it is vital to keep your speed down in risky conditions.
While the speed limit for UK single carriageway country roads may be 60mph, blind bends, uneven terrain and no pavements for pedestrians and cyclists can make it much more dangerous.
MOST DANGEROUS DAYS OF THE YEAR TO DRIVE
- January 18
- December 5
- December 4
- January 16
- February 28
- December 1
- December 18
- February 1
- November 30
- December 14
Based on analysis of claims from Admiral policyholders from the last nine years (2012 to 2021) excluding fire, theft, malicious damage, or windscreen claims.
Overtaking can also be hazardous, with the RAC reporting 59 per cent of fatal car accidents being at least partly down to driver error or reaction.
“Country lanes are well known for having blind corners and sharp bends with high hedges, which can reduce the visibility of a safe overtaking of another vehicle so always be aware of your surroundings,” a spokesperson said.
“Don’t overtake if you don’t need to.”
Fourth on the list is guidance to use brakes gently. Breaking distances on ice and wet roads increases “dramatically” compared to dry surfaces, while slamming on the brakes increases the risk of skidding.
And finally, always be prepared for a potential breakdown, with spare batteries, a portable phone charger, a warm blanket and an extra jacket with hat and gloves in the car.