Ahead of Road Safety Week, Julian Hartley, Insurance Director at Tesco Bank, share his top tips on how you can stay safe on the roads this winter. Analysis of internal data by Tesco Bank Car Insurance revealed that claims for road accidents jump 8% in the week after the clocks go back and the bank warns drivers to take extra care as the temperature drops
Julian Hartley, Insurance Director at Tesco Bank, said: “It can take a while to get used to winter driving. Commuting or school runs done in the dark, extra time for de-icing the windows or keeping an eye out for icy spots when the temperatures really start to drop, means that everyone using the roads needs to take a bit of additional care. Giving people extra time and space, making sure you are visible, and undertaking some vehicle maintenance are just a few simple steps that will reduce your risk of a winter collision.”
Streetlights can cast shadows on roads, pavements or at road crossings which can hide pedestrians or cyclists. Take extra care on the roads, drive slower around schools and poorly lit areas, and make a conscious effort to double check for cyclists and pedestrians.
Weak light or glare from the sun can make some colours less distinct in the winter. And wet or icy roads can make braking distances longer. Recommendations suggest you should always allow four seconds between you and the vehicle in front in bad conditions. Leaving extra time between you and the vehicle in front so you have more time to react if you need it.
Ensure your lights are in full working order. Not only is it illegal to drive at night without fully functioning front and rear lights, it can also be incredibly dangerous. If you find any bulbs to be faulty, get them changed as soon as possible.
Dirt can build up quickly on winter roads so pay extra attention to keeping all your windows and windscreen clean. You should also regularly check your screen wash, making sure it is sufficiently topped up before any journeys. In the colder months windows are more susceptible to condensation so make sure you leave time to fully demist all your windows that need it.
With snow fall and ice likely in the coming months, now is a good time to do a tyre check. Check that they are correctly inflated, have good tread and there aren’t any cuts or bulges – this will ensure you’re prepared for all weather types.
Making sure you have supplies in the car if you end up stuck in a queue or have an unfortunate breakdown is important any time of year but add to this with some warm blankets and spare jackets in the winter.
This applies all year round, but even more so now. Driving tired can put both you and other road users in jeopardy, so if you become tired while driving, stop, take a break and set off again when you feel safe to do so.
Cold weather can affect the health of electrics in your car, including your battery. If you are finding that your car is slow to start or makes a whining noise as you turn the ignition, this may be a sign to invest in a new battery. If in doubt, visit a local garage to ensure that your battery is in perfect condition before setting off on your next journey.
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