Winter Warnings

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As winter starts to take full effect and temperatures start to plummet, it’s important to do some vehicle checks before heading out on the roads in adverse weather conditions.

By not making these checks you could cause a danger to both yourself and other road users, and in some cases potentially invalidate your motor insurance.

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1) Is there snow on your roof?

Many people are unaware that not clearing snow off the roof of their vehicle could invalidate their motor insurance cover and even mean a Police fine.

Driving with snow on your roof can be a hazard for both yourself and other drivers, as the snow may fall off and obscure your vision, especially if you’re travelling at high speeds or are braking.

Be aware that if you were to have an accident as a result of not clearing your roof, your motor insurance provider may not pay out if it is deemed that you had been irresponsible.

 

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2) Have you de-iced and de-misted?

It’s very important to thoroughly de-ice and demist your vehicle before driving to ensure your windscreen is clear from any obstructions.

But it’s not just your windscreen that’s important. Make sure all windows and mirrors on your vehicle have been cleared so that you are able to see properly in all directions.

 

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3) Are you leaving your car unattended?

In the cold weather, it’s tempting for people to leave their vehicle running outside to de-ice, while they wait inside in the warm.

But if someone jumps in and steals it, you will not be covered by your motor insurance if you have left your vehicle unlocked and unattended, especially with the keys in the ignition.

 

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4) Are you driving responsibly?

Reducing your speed when driving in the winter months is the most important thing you can do, as ‘black ice’ on the roads is not always visible. Driving at slower speeds allows a larger stopping distance between you and other vehicles – in icy conditions you may need up to 10 times the normal distance for braking.

Always reduce your speed slowly, avoiding sudden braking or sharp steering. If you do skid on the road, the RAC advises that you should steer gently into it and do not take your hands off the steering wheel or stamp your foot on the brakes.

 

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5) Have you checked your tyres?

It’s important to check that your tyres are in good condition on a regular basis, but even more so in the winter as tyre treads can begin to harden in low temperatures, reducing grip on the road.

Firstly, you must ensure that you have the 1.6mm minimum legal tread. A quick and easy way to check this is with the ‘20p Test’, where you insert a 20p coin into the tread grooves and if you can’t see the outer band on the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit.

And secondly, make sure your tyres are inflated to the levels advised for your vehicle. You can find this information in your car’s handbook.

 

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6) Have you checked your breakdown cover?

The likelihood of being involved in an accident or getting stuck in the snow increases in adverse weather conditions, so it’s important to make sure you are able to call for help if you need it.

Check your breakdown cover is still valid and up-to-date and make sure you have the phone number stored in your mobile phone.

 

We wish you all a Happy New Year and we hope this Winter Warnings checklist will help to keep you driving safely this season.

 

Sources

Smith, LJ. (2018). Car insurance WARNING – Four ways driving in winter weather could invalidate your cover. Available: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/1049243/Car-insurance-winter-weather-invalidate-void-UK. Last accessed 21/12/2018.

Sourced from www.rac.co.uk. (2018). Tyre tread depth and tyre safety checks. Available: https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/tyres/checking-tyre-tread/. Last accessed 21/12/2018.

Sourced from www.halfordsautocentres.com. (2018). Stopping distances in winter. Available: https://www.halfordsautocentres.com/advice/tyres-advice/stopping-distances-in-winter. Last accessed 21/12/2018.

Bater,E. (n.d.). Winter driving tips. Available: https://www.gocompare.com/car-insurance/winter-driving-guide/. Last accessed 21/12/2018.

Sourced from www.motoringresearch.com. (n.d.). 1 in 2 motorists admit they STILL leave their car running in winter to defrost. Available: https://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/winter-car-theft-left-running-unattended/. Last accessed 21/12/2018.

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