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.
On average, 1.5 million weather-related car accidents occur annually, accounting for 24 percent of all car crashes nationally and 630,000 injuries.1
"Winter driving can be extremely dangerous for motorists and severely damaging to vehicles," says Joanna Moore, Mercury Insurance chief claims officer. "Properly maintaining your vehicle, exercising extreme caution while driving and keeping your autos fully insured are the best ways to stay safe on winter roads."
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 and part of Mercury's collision coverage with no additional fees. Through GPS technology, the service can even identify the exact location of stranded drivers.
"With the callers' permission, Mercury Roadside Assistance will identify their precise location and allow us to send help right away," says Moore. "It's also network neutral, meaning it will work with any phone, regardless of service provider or model."
Moore 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.
- 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.2
- Control your speed. Quickly accelerating or stopping means trouble when driving on ice-slick roads. The number one cause of winter accidents is trying to change speed or direction faster than surfaces allow.3
- Always buckle up.
1Fourteen-year averages from 1995 to 2008 analyzed by Noblis, based on NHTSA data.
2Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3Colorado Department of Transportation