Despite all of the safe driving tips out there, insurance companies across the state have to brace themselves for the first snow of the year. Peter Vitale, a Michigan-based insurance pro, notes that inclement weather elicits a great rise in accidents, claims, and roadside stress. The influx in accidents is disappointing. Many drivers are theoretically used to the snow. What’s going on here? Has everyone forgotten to be cautious all at once?
Whatever is responsible for the uptick in wintertime accidents, Michigan’s Peter Vitale has a few tips for making it through this winter. An Insurance Consultant for numerous agencies, Peter Vitale has learned a lot about the patterns of drivers. He knows how it’s all too easy to land in the wrong kind of hot water.
Avoid the Roads
While this advice may not be possible for everyone, it is solid advice nonetheless. If you’re limiting how much you leave the house, you’re limiting the odds of coming across that nasty patch of black ice. All of the bridges and unplowed roads can make for treacherous driving. Even for a steadfast driver, who drives a proverbial tank, this can be dangerous.
Watch Your Feet
This applies to both the gas and brake pedal. Any type of fast acceleration or quick deceleration can be dangerous, which means you need to prepare. According to Michigan-based Insurance Expert Peter Vitale, swift impacts to vehicles create different reactions in winter conditions. Before you rely on a lead foot to prevent you from skidding through the stoplight, pay attention to your speeds. For all those deer that jump out of nowhere, you have to be going slowly enough to handle the unexpected.
Essentially, this all boils down to taking your time and learning from your vehicle. When you lose traction, it’s your car’s way of telling you that you tried to pressure it into something it wasn’t ready for. Use steady force with your brakes and don’t be afraid to use them more than the gas.
Give Yourself Some Space
Be prepared for unexpected critters that cross the road. Similarly, be prepared if someone in front of you stops. The standard is a 3-second following distance, but why not increase it this year to 6 seconds? After all, it’s better to double your following distance than double your insurance rates.
Roll On By
It isn’t recommended to come to a complete halt during winter. This is due to the amount of inertia you need to get back up and running. If you can slow down where you don’t have to fully stop, you’re doing your car and yourself a favor. If you happen to see a red light in front of you, come to a crawl. It’s more likely that the light will be green by the time you approach the line.
Vary Your Speeds on Hills
The rule is to speed up a little to make it up the hill. Then, reduce your speed on the way down. This is truly useless advice for steep hills during the worst winter conditions. Sometimes, you won’t be able to navigate hills no matter how you drive. However, this can be helpful during (and after) milder storms.
You’re hoping to gather some momentum before you reach the incline and let it help you up to the top. For goodness sake, don’t try to stop on a hill! Getting the vehicle back up and running is frustrating and dangerous. If you’re likely to have to stop on a hill, you may have to avoid that route altogether.
What happens if you break down on the road? Will you have a cell signal? An ounce of prevention in this case will be worth well more than a pound of cure. Make sure you have a regular maintenance schedule (with tire rotations)!
Check your tread on a regular basis to see if it’s starting to bald. Examine your exhaust pipe when your car is left in the elements for extended periods. One that’s crusted over with mud and ice may cause deadly gas to leak into the vehicle.
As hard as it can be to hear, Peter Vitale of Michigan’s Bloomfield Insurance Group recommends having some gear in the car. In case you are stranded in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be glad to have an emergency kit. This means blankets, warm clothing, food and water, medications, toiletries, self-starting jumper cables, and car flares.
If you find yourself digging out your car from a mound of snow, don’t panic. Your job is to conserve energy. Don’t overexert your body and don’t run the engine if you can help it. If you were on the road, chances are you’ll see someone else before it turns into a more dire situation.
The position of your floor mats, the levels of your windshield-washing fluid, the coolant, and the headlights are all important components to your car. Regular maintenance will help tremendously. However, it’s still up to you to keep an eye on what’s happening with your vehicle.
Get a Better Auto Insurance Policy
The right auto insurance policy can help people breathe a little easier on the road. This might mean increasing your coverage. Even if you do collide with a deer, you don’t have to worry about the repair costs, or adding roadside assistance. If you have a motorcycle or convertible that never makes it out of the garage during wintertime, you can temporarily minimize coverage there to cover the expenses of a more expensive auto policy.
Peter Vitale: A Michigan Insurance Expert
Michigan’s Peter Vitale knows the auto insurance industry inside and out. He knows what makes for a good policy and how drivers can select a coverage plan that works for them. He also knows what it means to stay safe when you’re on the road. Just one minor crash can have lasting repercussions for drivers, both in terms of financial and psychological impact. Don’t take any chances when you follow his prudent advice.