New Year road accidents to “double” as 14.5million extra cars hit rush hour

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    The number of accidents on UK roads could more than double on Monday and Tuesday (4th & 5th January), as millions of extra cars hit the first morning rush hour after the Christmas break.

    Car insurer says it dealt with twice the usual number of accident claims during the first two working days of 2009 and warns the same could happen in 2010 with an extra 14.5million* school run journeys expected when UK schools return on Monday and Tuesday (4th & 5th January).

    The impact of the school run, which accounts for 18%* of peak time traffic, plus many commuters returning to work after an extended Christmas break, will put extra pressure on roads and cause added stress for drivers. If the snow and ice returns, warns there will be accident chaos – calls to the insurer soared by more than two-thirds to 3,300 in one day when the UK suffered heavy snow just before Christmas.

    The usual number of insurance claims it receives during the winter months from November to February are on average 21% higher than the rest of the year, but those figures increase further at the very start of the New Year.

    Craig Staniland, underwriting director at, says often drivers themselves are to blame for the higher accident rate. He says: “The number of insurance claims tends to rise in the winter because of factors such as bad weather and shorter days, but also because motorists do not change their driving habits. They drive too fast for the conditions or don’t leave enough time to get through traffic jams, which often leads them to hurry and take risks that can result in accidents.

    “Drivers should take this onboard as they head out onto the roads on January 4th and 5th; leave a bit earlier and drive more carefully. That way you hopefully won’t see the New Year in with your car in for repair.”’s advice to drivers is:

    • Give yourself at least an extra 15 minutes journey time
    • Make sure your car windows are fully de-iced before setting off
    • Ensure your car is in good working order – the cold weather can lead to increased breakdowns in poorly maintained vehicles
    • Get windscreen chips repaired before they turn into cracks – not only will cracks obscure your vision, replacing the glass is likely to result in an expensive insurance claim
    • Keep your tyres at the right pressure and replace any worn tyres – good tyres will reduce the dangers of skidding leading to accidents
    • Check your oil and keep your petrol topped up – running out of either in cold weather could be a nightmare
    • Replace any broken bulbs to ensure all your lights are working – not only is it a legal requirement, it will ensure that you are visible to other drivers
    • Replace your windscreen wipers if they don’t work properly and make sure the washer fluid is topped up