New research commissioned by Green Flag Breakdown reveals Brits missed 51.4 million working hours in the past week as a result of the poor weather conditions. Over 8.5 million (18%) British adults have been unable to work their contracted hours because of the adverse weather, costing employers an estimated £318 million.

The snow and icy conditions in the past week have kept almost one in five (19%) people off the road because they were afraid of driving. A further 2.3 million (5%) people tried to take to the roads but were unable to because of ice on the roads. Despite delays, public transport is seen as a safe refuge in bad weather with 12% of people taking trains, tubes and buses instead of driving because they felt it was the safer option.

However, millions of people were attracted to the thrill of driving in the icy conditions, with 17% of Brits claiming they enjoyed the challenge of navigating the roads in the past week. While a quarter (25%) of men enjoyed the challenge of driving on icy roads just 8% of women felt the same.

Those driving for the ‘rush’ or challenge of navigating icy roads put themselves, their passengers, other road users and pedestrians at risk as a car that loses control, even at low speeds, can be involved in a serious accident, according to Miranda Schunke, spokesperson for Green Flag: “It is not only the roads that have been frozen in the past week, for millions work commitments have been put on ice. Green Flag’s service personnel have been working round the clock to respond to record volumes of incidents, helping motorists that have found themselves in difficulty on the road. In future, we may see more drivers following the continental lead and investing in winter tyres and snow chains to help them cope with difficult driving conditions.”

Green Flag Breakdown reports it has seen call-outs increase by an average of 88%, compared to the same week last year, as the country remains in the grip of freezing weather conditions. On Tuesday January 22, incident volumes were 159% higher than the same day last year. The extremely high demand for breakdown support highlights the risks faced by motorists who take to the roads in severe and icy conditions. The worst affected areas include Newcastle, Bristol, Monmouth, Brighton, Swindon, Basingstoke, Coventry, Leicestershire and Warwickshire. The company has witnessed a dramatic increase in call volumes in these areas from motorists stranded at the road side or unable to start their vehicles at home.

More than 3.8 million people have missed at least a full day of work in the past week alone as a result of the arctic weather conditions. Over 590,000 people missed at least two days of work in the past week.