The AA president has issued a seasonal warning urging drivers not to set off looking through a snow slit or peering through smears of road dirt. Edmund King was speaking as part of the AA Trust’s Think Bikes campaign which has found that a huge majority of drivers find it difficult to see cyclists even in good weather.
"Your car windscreen is not an optional extra,” says King. “Yet some drivers seem to treat it like one. Particularly in winter our patrols report numerous cases of drivers peering through frosted, frozen or filthy windscreens.”
King will highlight these issues at this week's National Road Safety Conference in Brighton and at the Motor Cycle Live 2014 event in Birmingham, revealing how poor windscreen visibility contributed to 22 fatal or serious injury accidents last year. Linking the findings to the AA Trust’s Think Bikes campaign, he emphasises that there is a particular risk when it comes to cyclists.
"Our surveys suggest some drivers find it hard to spot those on two wheels, but having an obscured windscreen can double the size of your blind spot. Drivers should regularly clean their windscreens, ensure they have adequate screen wash and make certain their side mirrors are clear too."
In fact, the organisation’s own figures state that 93% of drivers admit it is sometimes hard to see cyclists with 55% having been caught out when a cyclist ‘has appeared from nowhere’.
“Those on two wheels never appear from nowhere,” points out King. This was why six million wing mirror stickers were distributed earlier in the year reminding drivers to also check for cyclists and motorcyclists in their blind spots.