For some, the winter snows are due
Unless there are major changes in the world’s climate, those of you living in the southern states can enjoy the same warm to hot weather all year round. The reality for those of us living in the northern hemisphere is there are four seasons so, as we pass out of Fall, let us anticipate the arrival of Winter with a few words of gentle warning. It is a sad fact that, as the first snows fall, the number of traffic accidents caused by the weather shoot up. Poor driving conditions pose challenges that many vehicle owners fail to meet. The winter period of December through February brings the highest number of seasonal claims in any year. The first day of snow or icy conditions catches everyone unprepared. The perfect driver would always have the vehicle go through a maintenance check to ensure everything is ready for the stresses and strains of winter driving. The first item on the checklist is tuning the engine to maximize the chances of it starting at low temperatures. It then moves through tests of braking efficiency to steering to the tires – there is enough tread to maintain grip on icy roads, is there not? Except, somehow, our priorities never seem to include this precautionary maintenance and we find our vision limited by sleet and snow, or the vehicles failing to stop, or moving in unexpected directions as the ice forms under our wheels. Even the most experienced of drivers can be caught out. Of course, as the winter weather continues, we remember all our survival techniques and the number of accidents falls. But in that first few days, it can be murder on the roads.
Why should you care? Well, if you drive an older vehicle on the minimum liability cover, you simply accumulate more honorable scars in the battle and patch up the rest that cannot be ignored. Those of you with collision and comprehensive cover need to minimize the number of claims you make to avoid the premiums rising sharply. That means a few simple rules. The first is the obvious, “Do not drive unless it is necessary”. Staying at home with your vehicle in the garage (or parked off the road) whenever possible is the safest action during the first days of snow. Fit snow tires if the weather looks set in for a few days, and new windshield wipers will help you see where you are going. Program the numbers of your repair shop and a towing company into your cell phone so you can call for help. You should also put together an emergency kit so that, if you are caught in an accident at night, you can stay warm and safe until help arrives. Then, it’s just a case of defensive driving. Allow extra braking distances, keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you and drive more slowly.
With these few simple rules in mind, you should be able to avoid accidents and keep your auto insurance company happy. If you are looking for auto insurance quotes at this time of year as an inexperienced driver or you are relocating from the warm south to the cold north, expect to see higher premiums quoted. Everyone needs time to adjust to road conditions when the weather is poor.