Now the clocks have gone back, winter is right around the corner and with it means harsher and more dangerous driving conditions. A recent study has revealed that motor insurance claims jump by as much as 7% when the darker mornings and darker nights draw in, resulting in an increase of collisions during rush hour. Peter Cook, Underwriting Floor Manager, at Sterling Insurance is keen to stress how drivers should take extra care during the colder period. Cook states: “Every year when the clocks go back we see an increase in the number of claims, which is undoubtedly because of the adverse driving conditions. “We strongly encourage all drivers to ensure they are taking extra care at a time where there is reduced visibility on the roads and for drivers to ensure their vehicles are in the best shape possible before they set off on their journeys. But if the worst does happen and you need to make a claim, Sterling will be able to help in the event that you need to make a claim.” And with the average claims costing around £2,230, drivers should be more focused than ever during the bad weather. That’s why the experts at Sterling have offered their top tips on making sure you avoid any unwanted incidents this winter that will affect your no claims bonus. 1. Reduce your speed in the winter months While you should of course always drive safely and within the speed limit, the winter months bring worse driving conditions than the warmer months. As such, drivers need to give themselves more time on their journeys in adverse conditions and driving in the dark to take into account low visibility and needing to increase their stopping distance and reaction time. 2. Use your car lights appropriately Using your headlights is pivotal in the darkness. However, lots of drivers seem to use theirs incorrectly. If you are driving on an unlit stretch of road you will need to turn on your full beams instead of just relying on your headlights. Not only will this increase what you can see in front of you, but it also alerts oncoming traffic there are cars on the other side of the road, and, crucially around corners. However, during heavy rain and fog, the full beams may cause more problems than they solve. Be sure to use your fog lights to avoid potentially impairing other road users’ vision. 3. Regularly check your car’s maintenance Whilst this is not winter specific, you will be using certain features such as lights more often in the darker weather than driving in the warmer months. Staying on top of your car’s headlights and battery health becomes more important in the winter, with the latter being a common reason as to why many breakdown in the cold weather. You may wish to check out our helpful guide on the basic car maintenance tips every driver should know to ensure your car is in top condition. 4. Pay extra attention to other vehicles In the darker mornings and evenings, it’s important to be extra vigilant of other vehicles while on the road. But it’s not just vehicles you need to look out for. The visibility of pedestrians, wildlife and hazards such as fallen trees is drastically reduced to the point where you may not see them at all. Driving slower and being aware of your surroundings, especially when driving on country roads, will be vital to ensure yours and others’ safety. Where can I get an affordable car insurance quote? Whichever car you have, Sterling can provide you car insurance that suits your individual needs. All we need is information about you, your car, and your driving history to try and provide you with the best deal possible. Call us today for our very best prices on 0344 381 9990.