December 20, 2016
Winter Driving Tips
Did you know that motorists are up to 33% more likely to make a car insurance claim through the winter, from a small bump to a major incident?
Recent media reports suggests that we may have a white hot Christmas, but contrary reports suggest that long term the UK could be facing one of the worst winters for 5 years with prolonged periods of snow and ice, which could lead to even more treacherous roads for motorists this winter.
Here are some considerations and steps you can take to check your vehicle is winter ready, and you’re ready for winter driving:
- Check tyre pressure and tyres for any cuts and bulges which could indicate the tyres need changing. Clients may want to consider putting on winter tyres to help increase their grip, especially if they live in rural locations
- The tread depth on tyres is also important and should be checked regularly – the tread depth should be at least 1.6mm. However research has shown that stopping distances increase significantly when tread depth reaches below 3mm, especially on wet surfaces
- Check the vehicle for leaks, this can be done by looking for any signs by just having a quick look under the car
- Check wipers and replace them if necessary. Keep the washer bottle topped up with screen wash and keep a can of de-icer in the car – a clear view of the road ahead is essential all year round
Sometimes it’s better to avoid driving altogether. However if you are going to drive, especially if it’s snowy/icy then you should consider:
- Can accident ‘black spots’ be avoided? Most roads should be gritted/salted but if you know of roads, especially in rural areas, that usually aren’t in these cold months, then these should be avoided too
- Timing of journeys during off-peak times is a plus, but obviously this can’t always be helped
- Avoiding steep hills – maintain a large safe gap to the car in front and avoid parking on steep hills too
- Keep in mind that stopping distances will increase and allow more time for journeys to ensure you travel at a safe speed
- How you would keep warm and safe should your vehicle breakdown in such adverse weather
Should the worst happen…
Stop. However minor you think a car accident is, you must stop, failing to do so is an offence under the Road Traffic Act.
- Ensure your car’s engine is switched off and then turn your hazard lights on to alert other road users to your presence. Ensure it is safe to get out of your car
- Call 999 if anyone has been injured and ask for an ambulance as soon as possible
- The police should also be called if the car accident is blocking the road or if you feel there was foul play involved –for example, where a driver is suspected of deliberately causing an accident
- You are obliged to give your vehicle registration, name and address to anyone else involved, but do not admit liability or get involved in discussing fault
- If you crash into something on or near the road even if there aren’t any other people involved, for example if you hit a parked car, you should leave your name, phone number and your vehicle registration on the windscreen
Collecting details after a car accident is important, so if you don’t have a pen and paper handy then use your phone to record details and also to take photographs. The more information you have the better, but the information you should collect is:
- Name, address, and insurance details of the other driver/s involved. Try to establish whether they are the registered keeper of the vehicle
- The registration numbers of all vehicles involved, plus a note of each vehicle’s colour, make and model – photographs may help with recording this
- The time, date & precise location of the crash
- A sketch or photographs showing the positions of the vehicles involved, before they are moved to the side of the road
- A note of the road markings, street lighting & weather conditions and anything unusual you notice about the road quality or lighting
- Damage to vehicles and any injuries sustained by pedestrians, drivers and passengers
Finally, report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Our team have many years’ experience of dealing with all types of motoring claims, so give us a call and let them help you!