Thursday, November 19, 2009

Winter Auto Safety Can Drive Down Costs

The goal for every driver should always be to arrive at his or her destination safely and without interruption.

Yet, the winter brings extreme weather including snow, sleet, and freezing rain - all of which create driving challenges, including an increased risk of accidents.

In addition to remaining alert on the road, the best way to maintain vehicle safety and avoid winter accidents is to make sure your car is protected through proper maintenance. Another aspect of protection is to make sure your auto insurance policy is up to date and includes the right types of coverage.

To help you drive with peace of mind this winter, Carin Stepeck (pictured above), vice president The Hartford Financial Services Group talks with FiscallyFit about tips to help people protect themselves on the road and save a few dollars in the process.

Be on the Defense
Drivers should consider taking a defensive driving class as winter weather approaches. Stepeck said classes are a way to brush up on ways to respond in dangerous conditions.
Remember to keep a safe distance, position mirrors adequately and know your state's laws of the road.
For example, she said, Connecticut's "Click It or Ticket" campaign reminds motorists of laws requiring drivers and front-seat passengers to fasten their seat belts, as well as rear passengers ages 4 to 16. The fine for violation is $37.

Take Care and Repair
According to the Car Care Council, more than 5% of all vehicle accidents result from underperformed vehicle maintenance.
The Hartford is advising drivers never to skimp on routine vehicle service.
"Ensure the battery is working well and that the connections are clean and corrosion-free," Stepeck said, adding that car owners also should check anti-freeze levels, keep the gas tank at least half full and maintain proper tire pressure.
"As the temperature drops, the tires lose pressure," she said.

Peruse Your Policy
Review your coverage to see if you qualify for important auto policy features, such as accident forgiveness. If you have this feature and are involved in an accident, it won't count against you and your rates won't increase.
Stepeck said The Hartford applies accident forgiveness in the case of a driver's first accident and afterwards, will guarantee the workmanship on covered repairs for as long as the affected driver owns the vehicle and chooses a certified repair shop.
Company statistics show a 6% to 8 % increase in the occurrence of accidents during the winter season, with most of them happening early on, she said. "I think that the winter can come upon us fairly quickly and we're not at all prepared," Stepeck said.

Park It
This may sound simple, but the best way to keep your car in working condition is to not drive it when the weather turns really ugly. It's best to stay safe at home than risk damage to your car, or worse. "If you do have the flexibility, stay put," Stepeck said. "It will definitely reduce the chances of getting involved in an accident. We realize not all our customers have the flexibility."

More information about decisions related to auto insurance policies can be found at a resource site offered by The Hartford.

1 comment:

  1. These are great tips. Here's a short 3rd party video with more tips for winter prep.