Driving reaction times in adverse weather survey

Monday, 5th October 2020, 4:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 4:56 pm

Who reacts quickest to adverse weather conditions?

Driving in all types of weather, from blinding sun to driving rain, is common to all motorists in the UK.

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New study

A new study reveals how driver’s reaction times are impacted in adverse weather conditions and you might be surprised.

A study by comparethemarket.com reveals thick fog impacts average driver’s reaction times by a huge 75 per cent, while snow impacts reaction times by 34 per cent. Overall, heavy rain and thick fog were the hardest conditions to see through.

Driving in fog is a well known driver hazard

It took 99 seconds on average for people to spot the car through heavy rain and 96 seconds through heavy fog.

Reactions to adverse weather by gender

In terms of gender, it took 71 seconds on average for women to identify the hazards. It took 76 seconds on average for men to identify the hazards

Driving with the glare of the sun is a common problem for drivers

Adverse weather reaction times by age

And in terms of age, interestingly, people aged 25-34 took the longest time on average to spot the cars through the different weather conditions – 62 seconds to spot a car in normal weather, 58 seconds to spot a sheepdog in normal weather, 74 seconds to spot a police officer in normal conditions, 78 seconds to find a police officer through sun glare.

People aged 35-44 are the best at spotting the cars through the different weather conditions (77 seconds to spot sheepdog through fog, 65 seconds to spot a police officer through sun, 63 seconds to spot a police car in normal weather).

Who reacts slowest to bad weather by region?

When looking at weather reaction times on a regional level, Leeds residents were overall the slowest at identifying hazards than any other city (84 seconds on average) whereas residents in Norwich were the fastest (66 seconds on average).

To unveil just how much of an impact weather can have on reaction times, comparethemarket.com created a quiz that gave drivers the opportunity to test their reactions while driving in various weather conditions. From snow to sun glare, it seems every type of weather brings its own set of challenges that drivers must contend with.

Having put the quiz in front of 1,000 drivers, comparethemarket.com discovered that it takes drivers 75 per cent longer to spot a hazard while driving in thick fog as opposed to clear weather. Snow impacts reaction times by 34 per cent, torrential rain affects response times by 30 per cent, and sun glare by 13 per cent.

Head of motor insurance at comparethemarket.com, Dan Hutson, said: “Having a quick reaction time is key to being a responsible driver, and you need to be aware of the conditions around you and be able to respond to them in time. It’s interesting to see from our research that drivers have different reaction times depending on the weather condition, with fog and snow affecting them the most.

"The Highway Code sets out in its advice for driving in bad weather, that you should make sure you've always got time to react to a potential hazard by keeping ypour distance from the car in front."

Driving weather quiz

To take part in the driving weather quiz, and for driving in bad weather tips visit