As the weather gets colder, it’s important to think about driving safely. In winter, it’s crucial that you’re driving with the utmost attention and care, since the long, dark nights and poor weather can make it even more dangerous when you’re driving.
The team at car insurance company Chill Insurance have put together an ebook with some top vehicle maintenance and winter driving tips, including statistics that can help you be more aware of just what you need to look out for.
A survey of 750 motorists from Ireland found that 15% said they’ve been in a car accident during the winter on Irish roads. While the weather increases our chances of having an accident, we also need to remember that we generally spend more time driving during the colder months, as the weather isn’t nice enough for walking and we’re often visiting relatives over the holiday season. 14% of those surveyed said that they spend one to two more hours driving in winter every week compared to summer, which increases the chances of them getting into an accident since there are more people on the roads.
Almost a quarter of respondents said that in the last five years they’ve done up to £500 of vehicle damage, while 12% were up to almost £1000, and 7% ended up paying between £1000 and £2000 pounds. Along with those expensive bills, 14% of those who had an accident also needed to take time off work.
While many of us know that it’s riskier to drive in winter, many of us aren’t being as careful as we need to be. 21% of those surveyed said that they don’t take any extra precautions while they’re driving during winter, but it’s relatively easy to change your habits and be safer driving this winter.
When dealing with snow and ice, you want to avoid sudden braking. For this reason, you’ll want to drive much slower than normal and keep a larger gap between your car and the car in front of you. Be extra careful around corners and bends, and if you do feel yourself losing control, don’t panic, just take your foot off the accelerator (don’t brake), and point your wheels in the direction you want to go. You’ll often find that your wheels will spin when you’re pulling away, so use second gear and gently ease off the clutch.
It’s especially dangerous to drive during fog, so try to avoid driving unless you absolutely have to. Turn your headlights on to give yourself greater visibility, and while it can be tempting to drive close to the car in front of you and use their backlights to guide you, you may find that you’ll get too close and increase your chances of rear-ending them.
When driving in the rain, remember that it will take longer for your car to stop due to the wet roads, so leave double the gap between your car and others compared to dry conditions to give yourself enough time to stop. Before you drive through any large puddles, be sure to slow down as well.
For more tips, along with ways to keep your car safe during winter, be sure to check out the ebook.