By Scott Stevenson, Proactive Risk Executive
Times are changing and there is uncertainty in our lives, yet some things remain the same. Preparation for predictable risks can help make life a little easier and keep insurance rates low. Rates are influenced by several factors including your claims history. The number of claims reported many times is as important as the size of the claim itself. When it comes to Auto Coverage a policyholder that has several small incidents will many times pay as much or more than the customer that has one large claim.
Many people think that the most difficult time of the year to drive is the winter months. However, don’t overlook autumn. The season of change brings new risks. I would like to provide you with some tips to help reduce not only the risk for potential claims but ideas to help keep you safe.
Fall is the perfect time to give your auto the annual check over to prepare for changing weather. Begin by looking under the hood of the car and check for cracks, leaks, and wear spots on any of the belts and hoses. Inspect all the fluid levels to make sure they are all at manufacturer levels. While the hood is open, make sure the battery level is charged and is not in need of replacement. A old or weak battery will not start the car in colder temperatures.
Next, inspect the outside of the vehicle. Check the tire tread wear and review proper inflation levels. Note that as the temperature begins to drop air pressure inside the tire will drop putting you at greater risk. Turn on the headlights and fog lights to make sure they are bright, and not burned out. Inspect brake lights and turn signals at this time as well. Repair any windshield cracks or replace the entire glass as fall temperature changes will cause cracks to expand.
Finally inspect the interior of your auto. Make sure the horn is working properly. Install interior mats to protect against wet shoes from the fall rain or early snow showers. Prepare an emergency kit complete with gloves, ice scraper, blanket, first aid kit, jumper cables, and flashlight. Stored it in the vehicle trunk for emergencies. These items can provide a huge convenience and even save lives if suddenly stranded.
Autumn is a period of change and time management changes are needed with this seasonal change. Prepare for changing drive times. Students head back to school so buses are back on the road and traffic patterns can be slower. Approach students walking to school with caution. Many wear earbuds and cannot hear vehicles. Early morning frost may mean that you must scrape the windows clean. Always remember to clear the entire window for complete vision. Make a practice of checking the next day weather report as fall can produce frequent rain showers, snow showers, or early morning fog and will increase morning drive time.
Driving Tips for Autumn
After ensuring your vehicle is ready to go and allowing extra time for the drive, think about what that can prevent an incident. As noted, fall weather is unpredictable. The changing morning temperatures can bring fog. Drivers need to provide extra distance behind vehicles to allow for longer braking time since visibility is not good. Snow showers will bring slippery roads so drivers need to slow down and gently brake the vehicle under these conditions. Small dustings of snow will usually not be treated and once compacted become glazed ice.
Another hazardous road condition is falling leaves in the roadway. Autumn drives provide for beautiful scenery but leaves in the roadway that become wet are slippery like ice. Approach these areas with caution and make every attempt to brake prior to these spots in the road. Daylight hours are reduced as fall approaches so the sun is lower in the sky and can cause blind spots, which are not apparent in the summer months. Keep a good pair of sunglasses in the car to help with evening vision to reduce glare.
One final tip and probably the most important fall change is the amount of deer crossing roadways. Deer are much more active in the autumn months and cause damage to countless autos each year. Statistics show that 1 in every 100 drivers will have an accident involving a deer. Drive slower in deer prone areas. Continuously scan the shoulder of the roadways, and use high beams as much as possible in night driving. If a deer should cross your path, braking the vehicle as hard as possible while remaining in control is the method of avoidance. Many times drivers attempt to swerve to miss the deer only to hit another object or vehicle.
Please use these tips in preparing for the upcoming months of travel. With many of us confined due to the recent pandemic, drivers have taken to the road for evening drives as a method of entertainment. The autumn scenery will only increase traffic. We want everyone to remain healthy, safe, and most of all claim free.