Snow and Ice

Insurance claims tell the story

21 December 2009

Many cars end their journey in a ditch

Flying ice, parked cars, posts, telephone boxes – all fair game for out-of-control drivers, says AA Insurance

It's carnage out there in the snow and ice, if the claims from AA Insurance are anything to go by. On the day of the great snowfalls, 18th December, the broker's claims department handled 100 claims for snow and ice related crashes before lunch.

Many accidents will be very familiar – hitting other vehicles either in a tail-end shunt (the most common type of claim), or hitting other moving vehicles on bends, junctions and roundabouts.

Unsafe parking

Many people decided to stay put and not risk taking their car out. But after a snow fall, out-of-control drivers can end up bouncing off cars parked at the roadside. One customer was horrified to hear a series of crunches, only to find his car and five others nearby which had been damaged by a series of vehicles sliding out of control on a bend.

Your car might not even be safe if it's parked on your own drive – two customers had their cars hit by an out-of-control vehicle, one being struck so violently that it pushed his car through his own garage door.

Flying ice mayhem

How often do you see vehicles driving along like mobile igloos because the owner hasn't bothered to sweep the snow off? Doing that before you set off is a must because snow flying off can damage other cars – or worse, hit pedestrians. But when there's snow and ice flying off lorries the consequences can be much worse. Two customers ended up in collisions after just that happened – one causing a seven-car pile-up while the lorry disappeared, the driver oblivious to the mayhem left behind.


Many cars end their journey in a ditch, a dozen doing so on the morning of 18th December. One was overturned by the ditch and finished up sliding like a tea-tray over the snow to hit a tree while another 'leaped' back out of a ditch and into a roadside barn.

Cold call

When there's snow and ice about, any piece of roadside furniture can become a hazard. Out of control cars have struck lamp posts, walls, hedges, fences, signboards, barriers and bollards. One ended up overturning a telephone box – fortunately not occupied and another finished up, according to the customer, in a skip.

How unlucky can you get?

But perhaps the unluckiest customer of all was a gentleman who decided not to risk driving in the snow but called a taxi instead. Safely in the back seat the taxi driver set off but immediately lost control. To the gentleman's horror, it skidded – and crashed into his own car.

Claims in figures

The cold statistic from one morning at AA Insurance claims department (AA Insurance had no reports of injuries in any of these accidents):

  • 31 cars in collisions on the road, including six involving several vehicles and 10 tail-end shunts
  • 6 failed to stop at junctions, hitting other cars
  • 9 finished up in a ditch, two others bouncing out of the ditch and going on to hit something else (total 11)
  • 14 hit parked cars, in two cases hitting several parked cars
  • 7 hit kerbs so hard that serious damage was caused – including one whose 'front wheel fell off'
  • 29 hit other objects including lamp posts, telegraph poles, bollards, barriers, fences, hedges, walls, buildings, a skip and a telephone box
  • 2 accidents were caused by ice and snow flying off lorries

Join the discussion in the AA zone


21 December 2009