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The Dangers of Driving in the UK During Winter and How to Protect Yourself

With the temperatures plummeting, hours of darkness increasing and harsh weather conditions becoming more common, winter is upon us in the UK. This can make driving particularly dangerous at this time of the year and it is something that many motorists fear.

Difficult Conditions
Wet/icy roads can make driving unpredictable and challenging, whilst the poor visibility means that you must be extra vigilant whilst driving at night. On top of this, the freezing temperatures can also stop the vehicle from working properly. Most notably, this includes attempting to start the car and the fluids inside the car becoming too cold.

Accident Statistics
The colder months are certainly the most dangerous and testing time to drive in the UK. In fact, research from Accident Exchange revealed that there were roughly 70,000 more collisions in winter than summer and a 15% rise in accidents between January and March. The same research showed that the peak in accidents occurred between 5 and 6 pm, which is during rush hour when there are more cars on the road and lower visibility.

You are most likely to see these accidents on motorways or busy roads where there are a lot of cars having to regularly stop and start. Interestingly, there are not as many accidents after snowfall as there are fewer cars on the road than normal.

Breakdown Statistics
In addition to rising accidents during the colder months, there is also a sharp increase in breakdowns due to the cold temperatures. It is thought that half a million cars break down in the UK in December alone, with the final week of December being the worst time as motorists attempt to restart their vehicles after leaving them standing over the Christmas break. As a result, most breakdowns occur outside the owner's home, but they can also occur anywhere that you may have to stop and start, such as the motorway.

Preparing for Winter
Clearly, it is important that motorists prepare themselves for the difficult winter months. There are a number of tips for doing this, such as getting the car serviced, checking the battery, reducing speed, keeping vision clear and checking your tyres. You should also drive your car regularly, even if it is over the holidays. This can all help to reduce the chance of an accident or a breakdown, but it is also important that you have protection in place in case you run into some kind of trouble.

You can avoid having to foot the bill for any costly electrical or mechanical repairs with an extended car warranty. If you do not already have a warranty in place, it is an important investment and one which should be arranged before the conditions become dangerous. These repairs can be costly to cover, so you get adequate protection and peace of mind when you take out an extended warranty.

Staying Safe
By taking the necessary precautions and putting protection in place, it can make driving on the roads over the winter period easier, but still not entirely safe. Statistically, this is the most dangerous time of the year and when the most accidents occur, with the wet/icy roads and poor visibility being the main reasons for accidents. As a result, motorists may want to consider avoiding driving in particularly poor conditions and either staying put or taking the train if possible.

If driving is unavoidable, motorists should be extra careful, look after their vehicle and plan their journey in advance so that they can select the safest route. It is also important to have protection in the form of an extended warranty, as having to pay for electrical or mechanical repairs can be expensive and this is the last thing that you need during the expensive festive period.

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