Here’s what Met Office has said
Motorists need to prepare for unsettled weather in some parts of the UK on Christmas Day and Boxing Day according to the Met Office, with over seven million people* expected to hit the roads between the 25th and 26th of December alone.
Following the recent quiet, settled weather. Low-pressure conditions are likely to dominate from around Christmas Eve onwards. This means that we can expect spells of heavy rain and strong winds between Christmas and New Year.
Met Office Meteorologist Helen Chivers comments: “For the big day itself, parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland are likely to see some heavy and prolonged rain and there is still a possibility of a white Christmas for some northern areas of Scotland. But, for most of us, it’s largely going to be dry and breezy Christmas Day.
Although ice and snow are often perceived as the biggest causes of winter road accidents at Christmas, rain is perhaps the greatest threat of all, according to Highways England, which is working in close collaboration with the Met Office to keep the roads clear for this festive season.
Met Office Meteorologist Helen Chivers comments: “The RAC have dubbed this Friday as ‘Frantic Friday’ because it’s anticipated to be really busy on the roads, but from a weather perspective bursts of rain and gusty winds on Boxing day may cause motorists more disruption on what is expected to be the busiest day of Christmas travel with an expected 5.2 million car journeys planned.”
A Highways England spokesman said: “Drivers will typically slow down in snow, ice or fog but when it rains, many consider it to be normal so they don’t adapt their driving habits. Despite this perception, rain is a serious threat, making it harder for tyres to grip the road and harder for drivers to see ahead – factors that significantly increase the chances of a collision.
The hard fact is that 2,978 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads during rain in the last year. A good rule of thumb is if it’s time for your wipers, it’s time to slow down. Now with high wind and rain expected over Christmas, and many motorists possibly rushing to get to their loved ones, we are trying to make drivers aware of the dangers and advising them to stay safe when driving over the festive period.”
According to new research from the Met Office, 1.56 million drivers have suffered at least one accident in the last five years due to winter road conditions, with motorists forking out an average of £1,362 in damages per incident. And with 312,382 accidents estimated to be caused through winter conditions per annum – the total estimated cost of winter vehicle damage every year is £425m.