With an Arctic plunge in temperature set to hit the nation this weekend, uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service, warns UK drivers to be prepared and kick out bad habits that could put themselves and other road users in danger.
Sabrina Webb, insurance expert at uSwitch.com, has the following advice for keeping safe on the roads: “UK drivers need to take note of Met Office warnings – snow, hail and ice make for treacherous and unpredictable driving conditions.
“Severe winter weather can come out of the blue and motorists are often caught out in these arctic blasts. Worryingly, last year over seven million road users said they didn’t change their driving habits in adverse weather conditions. This year we urge motorists to make sure they take every step necessary to keep themselves and other road users safe this winter.”
A few helpful tips:
Dress appropriately – one in four (27%) drivers say that their winter clothes make it harder to drive. The majority (58%) blame their coat while a third (32%) blame big gloves for obstructing their driving. Thinner layers can help you keep warm while also making sure you stay in control of your vehicle.
Clear your windscreen – take time to completely de-ice your windscreen with a proper de-icer and scraper. A third (31%) of motorists say they don’t do this and alarmingly over half (53%) admit to using inappropriate objects to scrape the ice. Almost half (47%) have used a credit or debit card, a third (33%) used their hands and 13% have taken to their windscreens with a CD. One in ten (12%) drivers are also guilty of using hot water to remove the ice. This is risky as hot water can weaken the glass and cause it to break, so it’s best to stick with de-icer.
Get your car ready (safely) – one in four drivers (25%) admit to leaving the engine running unattended with keys in the ignition to warm up their car while they return to the house. What drivers might not know is that most insurers won’t cover cars stolen while running unattended.
Lower your speed and mind the gap – once on the road, reduce your speed and increase the distance between you and the car in front. A quarter (26%) of motorists said they don’t always lower their average speed on icy roads and another 23% do not increase the distance between them and the vehicle in front. Keeping a distance and reducing speed is important as icy conditions impair breaking performance and cause wheels to slip.
Make sure you have supplies to hand – keep supplies in the boot in case your car breaks down. A winter emergency kit, including essential items like a torch, shovel, blanket, and spare mobile phone/charger, will be invaluable if you are caught out.
Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.