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Are You and Your Vehicle Winter Ready?

12th December 2018
Expert advice on use of winter tyres from an insurance perspective

With winter having officially arrived, Carlisle-based, H&H Insurance Brokers offer Advice for the Changing Road Conditions.

“Winter presents many potential hazards for drivers, both on the roads and on farms. With travelling and road conditions changing, it is important that customers take extra care, and pay attention to reduce their risk this season, and preventative solutions are often simple and relatively inexpensive to implement”, Simon McKean, Claims Manager at H&H Insurance Brokers (HHIB), advises.

Although it is imperative to minimise the risk of accidents happening, it is now more important than ever that farmers ensure that they have the correct cover in place should the worst happen.

Whatever farm vehicle you are driving, it is important to ensure that you are safe and covered and that your vehicle is protected, and capable of protecting you.  By improving on-farm working practices and keeping machinery well maintained, you will benefit from lower insurance premiums.

“This year’s report from the Health and Safety Executive unveiled that the agriculture sector still has the highest number of fatal injuries compared to all other British sectors. With roads and ground becoming more slippery with the influx of fallen leaves and ice, including reduced visibility, this ultimately increases the risk. Don’t leave anything to chance”, adds Simon (Health and Safety Executive, http://www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture/resources/fatal.htm)

To help avoid these risks, Simon recommends a number of ways to ensure your vehicle is properly prepared for the winter season:

  • Regular Inspection and Maintenance – In the winter, these checks become increasingly important and should cover everything from checking your tyres to cleaning your windscreen.
  • Visibility – the sun is lower in the sky during winter and good visibility can be a problem for many motorists. Extra care and attention should be paid to the windscreen and any chips should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
  • Create your own ‘Winter Kit’ – this can be vital when driving long distances and in remote places. If your vehicle breaks down, or you are stuck, then a self-rescue kit can make a big difference to both your safety and comfort. Your kit should include:
  • An ice scraper
  • Warm clothing and high visibility jackets
  • Torch and batteries
  • Reflective warning signs
  • Food and drink
  • A shovel and tool-kit

Whilst following guidelines and advice about road conditions on signs and radio alerts are paramount to reducing risk, there are a number of habits to avoid throughout the winter when driving, reminds Simon. Stay clear from:

  • Relying heavily on the brakes – especially in snow and ice.
  • Going too fast – Reducing your speed on the road, legal speed limits are only set for optimum weather conditions, and in winter weather, road conditions worsen.
  • Not clearing snow and ice from the car – Snow and ice on your windows and roof can cause your line of sight to be obstructed so it is imperative that all windows are completely clear.
  • Not replacing windscreen wipers – Whether it be a tractor, farm jeep or the car, you must change your wipers as soon as you see streaks on the windscreen. In less than ideal conditions, snow and rain will obstruct your sight, and your wipers are your only defence.
  • Not checking your tyres – Colder temperatures can cause your tyres to lose pressure, so make sure you check these regularly.

“By taking the time to run through the basics, you can make sure that you are well-prepared for the challenging conditions that winter can sometimes bring. However, to ensure that our clients are aware of the risks and to help them to create a safer farm environment, here at HHIB, we provide a full insurance and a risk-management service and advise farmers on improving their health and safety practices”, concludes Simon.

H&H Insurance Brokers marked its 30th year in 2017, providing farm and rural businesses with bespoke insurance policies. From relatively small beginnings, the business has grown to be one of the largest specialist independent insurance brokers in the UK.