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The Six Most Dangerous UK Roads Motorists Should Avoid This Winter

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Drivers have been told how to stay safe this winter, as icy conditions make some of the worst roads in the UK even more dangerous.  

Road safety experts at Road Angel have named the six most dangerous routes across the UK that drivers should avoid this winter for fears of serious accidents and fatalities.

The wintery conditions sweeping the country are set to continue, and the rail strikes force more people onto the roads.

With motorists still needing to travel to work, school and home for Christmas in these adverse conditions, experts have named the six most dangerous routes everyone should avoid.

From Hardknott Pass in the Lake District to the Devil’s Staircase in Wales, these roads are dangerous enough as it is – with hairpin bends and steep gradients.

But in the winter weather, these routes are even more dangerous, with the risk of skidding, significantly reduced visibility and freezing temperatures.

As areas in the country receive extreme weather warnings, millions of drivers are being told to stay safe when travelling, and motoring experts have now named the routes those behind the wheel should altogether avoid.

A spokesperson for Road Angel said: “With some of the worst winter driving conditions set to continue well into 2023, you must remain extra vigilant when driving to avoid serious accidents on the road.

“Many of these roads have stunning views – like the picturesque scenes of the Scottish Highlands along Glen Quaich, but such sights can come at a cost in winter.

“Steep gradients along these roads make driving with ice on the road extremely hazardous because of the heightened risk of skidding.

“Motorists must first note that the Highway Code tells drivers to avoid driving in snow and ice unless the journey is essential, and if so, they should use a high gear and slow speed.

“But for those travelling in adverse conditions over the wintertime, you should avoid several routes across the country entirely.

“A few of these roads, like Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District, are sometimes closed to motorists in the winter because of how dangerous it is to drive along.” 

Road Angel’s most dangerous driving routes this winter: 

1. Kirkstone Pass, Lake District 
The Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District is the highest road in the National Park, 454 metres above sea level. But this means there are bends and slopes up this road, with a 17% gradient at some points. As well as being steep and twisty, the Kirkstone Pass is also very narrow at some points. Despite the beautiful scenery over the Lake District, drivers may not even be able to see it because of the thick mist throughout the colder months. Kirkstone Pass’ steep and narrow features make the road very dangerous to drive on in adverse conditions, and the road is closed when there are bad winter conditions because of the risk it poses to drivers.

2. Glen Quaich, Scotland
This picturesque drive in the heart of the Scottish Highlands is a beautiful yet risky route for motorists. Several parts of the road are incredibly narrow, with few passing places along the way – a steep gradient of up to 17%, sharp hairpin bends and no road markings. These conditions make Glen Quaich a tough road for motorists to navigate over the winter months.

3. Hardknott Pass, Lake District
Hardknott Pass is another dangerous road in the Lake District, known for being the steepest in England. This single-track road reaches a massive 33% gradient at one stretch, and the several tight bends make the Hardknott Pass one of the most challenging roads to drive on in the country, never mind during the winter. The road surface is in bad condition, meaning it gets very icy and slippery during adverse conditions, and the pass often gets closed because of the ice. With reduced visibility and extreme gradients, Hardknott Pass is extremely dangerous and often impassable for winter motorists.

4. Petworth, West Sussex to Chichester, A285
This section of the A285 warns motorists to drive cautiously during all conditions. Long and fast straights see cars spinning off in icy conditions, and the several sharp, unexpected bends provide very little visibility, especially in the winter mist and fog. Collision rates along this stretch of road are often hailed as a cause for concern, but frequent crashes only worsen during winter conditions.

5. Cat and Fiddle, Peak District
Named after the Cat and Fiddle Inn at the summit, this road has stunning countryside views, which have dangerous consequences. Often called the most dangerous road in the UK, the Cat and Fiddle between Derbyshire and Cheshire have an abundance of blind bends, often which are unexpected for drivers. Despite reducing fatalities since road safety measures have been implemented, many serious accidents and incidents still occur. Over the winter, the sharp bends, reduced weather visibility and a slippery, icy road surface make driving along the Cat and Fiddle even more dangerous.

6. Devil’s Staircase, Wales
The clue is in the name for this stretch of hairpin turns settled in the Cambrian Mountains, Wales. With a maximum gradient of 20% along the sharp bends, the Devil’s Staircase is a hazardous, narrow, single-track road for winter drivers. The road surface is often damaged from adverse conditions, and given its remote location, the Devil’s Staircase can be hard to reach for those in danger, and it is even a struggle to get a phone signal to call for help.

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