At this time of year, most of us would prefer to stay home. The weather is terrible, the days are short, money is tight after all that holiday spending, and we somehow always have too much work to do. However, as much as we would rather stay warm, we still need to get out on the road, and it is so important that we all make sure that we are taking the proper steps to protect ourselves and everyone else out there.
Now, we are sure that everyone reading this is a responsible driver, but it is always a good time for a quick refresher course on safety essentials. What’s more, with extreme weather events becoming more and more frequent, we all need to make sure that we have everything we need to get us from a to b without any incidents. Here are a few of the most important things that you need to remember while driving this winter.
Follow The Rules
Let’s start with a basic tip that no one should ever forget. It goes without saying that we should all be following the rules of the road no matter what the conditions and no matter what the season. However, during the winter when the conditions may be significantly worse than usual and there may be poor visibility, it is more important than ever. That means that you need to be following the speed limit very carefully, even if you are in a rush and even if there does not seem to be any immediate risk.
That means that you need to be wearing your seatbelt, even if you are only going a short distance. If the weather is very bad and you are struggling to see a yard or two ahead of you, it can be all too easy to neglect basic safety steps such as checking your rearview mirror before changing lanes. Traffic deaths went up by 7% last year in the US and we all need to be on our toes. Stay calm and remember the basics.
Get Your Car Checked
If you know that you are going to be doing a lot of driving in bad conditions or if you are setting off on a long journey, you should check when you last took your car in for a service. Remember that small problems that you may not have noticed can get much worse quickly in bad conditions, and it is much better to find out that you need some serious work done to your vehicle before you are out on the highway in the middle of nowhere. If you are going to be driving through some bad weather, then you should always check your tires before you head out.
Know Your Vehicle
Following on from the point above, one of the best ways that you can make sure that you are staying on top of your safety on the road is by knowing your car. Find out what kind of issues you could run into out on the road, know what could be causing certain problems, and check where you can take your car in for a check-up if you need to. This can be especially important if you have recently bought an electric car and you are getting to grips with it for the first time.
Generally speaking, a fully electric car should need fewer regular check-ups than their counterparts, but you should know what you might need in case of any problems. If you are looking for more information on electric car repair, Compare has put together a detailed guide to the most common issues that you could run into and the estimated costs that you could be looking at.
Pack An Emergency Kit
Naturally, we all hope that we won’t encounter any issues that would lead to a breakdown on the road, but it is so important to ensure that you have everything you need with you if the worst should happen. Now, the exact make-up of the kit may vary depending on your location. For example, you may not need a de-icer (although you never know these days). But it is a good idea to make sure that you have packed road flares, a flashlight and some spare batteries, a high-visibility jacket, a first aid kit, jump start cables, a shovel, reflective warning signs, and at least one warm blanket.
It is also smart to have a good pair of boots in your car if you are travelling a long distance, and you should keep some emergency food supplies and water in there too, and do not forget that portable phone charger. Finally, keep a spare tire in the trunk and be sure that you know how to change it. We never get to choose where we break down, and we never get to choose how long we are going to be stuck somewhere waiting for help to arrive.
Double Check Your Insurance
Here is a tip that is not specific to winter but could be particularly important at this time of year. We are sure that you are a responsible driver and that you have the proper auto insurance for your vehicle. However, this is the time of year when terms and conditions have been updated and details may have changed, and if you have not kept on top of your insurance admin duties, you could find yourself out of pocket very quickly.
Get online or call your insurance provider to double check that your details are up to date and that you are staying on top of your monthly payments. It is also worth checking the exclusions on your policy to remind yourself of anything that could void your coverage or lead to a claim being rejected. Remember that even if you are a responsible and experienced driver, you cannot make any guarantees for anyone else out on the road. There are so many reasons why you might end up in a traffic accident. Do not let the actions of another driver or a momentary mistake cost you a huge sum of money because you did not check your insurance information.