How To Winter-ize Your Vehicle
Preparing for colder weather includes upgrading your Mercury auto insurance coverage
Winter: A time when your car won’t start running and your nose won’t stop. When temperatures drop, car accidents often rise, as does the importance of having the correct auto insurance.
“Winter weather is a leading cause of car accidents across the country,” says Stephanie Behnke, Mercury Insurance claims innovation director. “Winter storms blanket roads with snow, ice and rain, which can create dangerous driving conditions. It’s important to make sure you drive cautiously in bad weather and make sure your vehicle is winter-ready.”
Here are some things to consider when reviewing your auto insurance policy:
- Who will be driving your vehicle during the winter months? Consider upgrading your auto insurance if an inexperienced winter driver — perhaps a teenager who has little experience in cold, icy conditions — will be behind the wheel.
- How frequently will you be operating your vehicle(s) this winter? Reevaluate your car insurance coverage on any vehicle(s) that will be driven more during winter months when the most weather-related accidents occur.
- In what condition is your vehicle? You may want to increase your coverage if you drive an older vehicle that doesn’t have the most recent safety features, such as anti-locking brakes, all-wheel drive and traction tires. In addition, a pre-winter examination of your brakes and tires by a licensed mechanic is highly recommended.
In the event of a winter breakdown, Mercury customers can take advantage of the company’s Roadside Assistance program, which is available for all customers as an optional coverage. Through GPS technology, the service can even identify the exact location of stranded drivers on any network and phone.
Behnke offers a few winter driving tips in addition to maintaining the proper insurance coverage:
- Winter driving precautions start before you ever get in the vehicle. Replacing old wiper blades, checking fluid levels (especially antifreeze and oil), rotating tires or putting on traction tires, cleaning battery connections and checking the heating system are essential to making sure your vehicle is ready for winter. One of the leading causes of accidents is poorly maintained cars, especially tires without treads.²
- Do not drive distracted. Keep both hands on the wheel and stay off your cell phone. It’s important you are alert and ready to react. Remember, you are 23 times more likely to get into an accident when you text while driving.³
- Control your speed. Quickly accelerating or stopping means trouble when driving on ice-slick roads.
- Always buckle up.
¹Ten-year averages from 2002 to 2012 analyzed by Booz Allen Hamilton, based on NHTSA data, from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
³Virginia Tech Transportation Institute