Checklist for driving in winter – one

With winter fast approaching, and the Met office already issuing amber weather warnings before we hit December, Brake, the charity for safer driving in the UK, has a couple of check-lists that all drivers, whether your time behind the wheel is for either commercial or domestic purposes, should be refreshing themselves with.

Not only are the guidelines exercises in appropriate driving skills and attitudes during the winter months, but utilising these practises will both keep you (and others) safer whilst driving in inclement conditions and by avoiding accidents will help you keep your no claims bonus in tact, thus keeping your van insurance renewal quotes in check for 2012, onwards.

The safest bet, of course, if the weather is looking likely to turn before you hit the road is: don’t. Unless driving is imperative, the sensible decision when facing treacherous conditions is to stay put. This can be difficult if driving is your job, of course, and the temptation to fit that last job in before closing the door for Christmas is always going to call to you.

But, ask this one question: would your daughter prefer that new iPhone 4S she’s mentioned that you could pay for with one last run or would she rather come and see you in hospital on Christmas Day? Sometimes, it’s not about the money!

steps to take before starting your winter journey

As much as police, charities and van insurance providers can do to discourage driving in wintry conditions, the decision will always lay with the individual. If you are unsure whether conditions risk your livelihood and increase the likelihood of making a claim in the new year on your van insurance, consider the following:-

  • alternate transport:- rather than an empty, low-traction van, is another mode of transport viable, such as bus, metro or train?
  • visibility:- snow, thick ice and fog all impair vision; will you see your accident coming? And if so, will you be able to stop in time to prevent it?
  • minus temperatures:- be prepared! plan your route beforehand, incorporate stop points where necessary and keep up to date with travel and met-office updates en route
  • external temperature – the heater inside the cab may keep you as warm as toast, but the moment the external gauge dips below zero, the possibility of ice increases
  • time:- hold-ups, slower traffic and impassable sections of the journey can all lead to delays, so allow enough time to incorporate these possibilities; never put yourself in the position where you need to catch up
  • vehicle preparation:-
    • are your tyres tread-worthy, and do you have spares? Are chains an option, if available?
    • how much fuel will you need – is your tank full or are there gas stations en route?
    • anti-freeze – are your radiators and wind-screen wiper canister topped up, and do you have more?
    • ensure your windscreen is free of condensation and have a clean wiper and de-icer readily at hand.

Many of these we do without thinking, but the amount of van insurance claims last year where incoroporating these tactics beforehand would have negated the need you would think these guidelines were written in another language.

Tomorrow, guidelines whilst winter driving and the effect of accidents upon the likelihood of obtaining a cheap van insurance renewal.

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