4 min read
Come October and the Northern Hemisphere starts walking towards the cold. The days get shorter, the night arrives earlier, and with these changes come the brutal accidents. In the UK, November is the worst month of winter accidents; the second one is March. Between these two months alone, the number of accidents rises by 7.45% nationally.
The wrath of winter
Teleporting to the US, it was reported that between 2011 and 2015, an average of approximately 800 Americans died because of sleet, ice, snow, freezing, etc. That’s more than 100 casualties a year. The numbers come from an analysis carried out by the Auto Insurance Centre and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
One of the primary reasons behind these accidents was the lack of preparation by the people for the iciness of the snowy roads.
Back home in the UK, research from car insurance provider 1st Central revealed that 65% of UK drivers have either had an accident or faced other driving difficulties during winters.
Top reasons why car accidents are common in winters
So why is winter such a cruel weather for drivers?
Here are the top reasons why car accidents are likely to occur in winters. These will alert you to the red flags you need to watch out for and take appropriate preventive measures.
Be it snow, rain, or fog, there are so many elements in the winter weather that reduce visibility. Many people will risk going out in such weather. And when they do go out, they do not take extra winter accessories for safety. Poor visibility accounted for about 31% of accidents during winters.
As precautionary measures to maintain visibility, people can carry extra clothes and scrapers. They can double-check the headlights to make sure they are working properly and won’t dim out.
The poor visibility due to fog is prevalent during the morning and in rural areas where abundant vegetation invites the fog to sweep in. Ideally, avoid driving at this time, but if you have to, carry winter accessories and carry extra water to keep the engine from freezing should you park it for a long time.
If the engine freezes, don’t run the car. Switch it on and let it hum and warm up to get the internal system moving.
Flooding/ snow leading to few usable lanes
In the UK, news and warnings about floods have already been issued.
With the increased possibility of snowstorms, blizzards, and hailstorms, flooding and snow can block off many roads- even main highways and intracity routes. The number of usable lanes or routes thus decreases which leads drivers to take other roads that might be equally dangerous.
The best way to circumvent this reason is to always do weather and road check before you leave the house, especially if you’re going on a long journey. Road closures can happen at any time due to sudden changes in weather. Navigation apps and inbuilt Radio Data Systems are priceless in this regard. Thus, make sure to tune into any last-minute updates before setting off.
Damage due to slippery roads can be prevented through two ways. The first one is to change your tyres for the winters. Change the hard summer tyres for the soft winter one. These can help to maintain traction on snow and ice. Also, ensure that the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm is maintained. This will lead to both good and safer driving.
The second method is to keep a two-car length stopping distance between you and the car in front. This allows for more braking time while keeping you safe from the tyre spray from the car in your front. Both slippery roads and black ice )which can be found on shaded roadways, bridges, and overpasses) are avoided this way.
Defrosting the wrong way
Not all accidents start and end on the road. Some start when the driver gets in the driver seat in the morning after de-icing their windscreens the wrong way.
Do not turn on the heat the moment you get in the car. This will cause the windshield glass to expand. The pressure can lead to any chips and cracks expanding as well. So, use a de-icer or scraper in the morning/ evening to clear ice from the car the right and safe way.
All the above reasons have culminated in a 15% increase in the number of claims made per day due to road accidents. Due to the Beast from the East last year, more than 50% of drivers sought out assistance for car and road-related damage.
Thus, it is imperative to be armed with the proper knowledge and accessories during the winter months. If not, the result can be fatal- not only for ourselves and our families but for others and their families as well. Small but consistent precautions go a long way in making the roads safer during winter months.
If you’re an insurance provider, then by using one of the Spixii solutions, you can add this level of detail and care for your customers. Preventing and mitigating risk before claims happen is even more important during periods of severe weather. Head to the Spixii solutions page to learn more and enquire with the Spixii team.