Winter - silly season for motorists

Article date: 19 December 2001

Insurers are poised for more crazy claims from drivers who go‘round the bend’ in winter.

Every year claims at Norwich Union, the UK’s largestinsurer, increase by over 10 per cent during the cold spell.

But many of the claims - which are often caused by skidding onice and poor visibility - verge on the ridiculous.

One woman said: "To avoid hitting the bumper of the car infront, I struck the pedestrian." Another said: "The guy was allover the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hithim."

Other claims anecdotes include: "As I approached theintersection, a sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stopsign had ever been before" and "an invisible car came out ofnowhere, struck my car and vanished."

Richard Alger, market development manager for Norwich UnionInsurance, said: "While some claims make funny reading, takingextra care in winter is a serious issue. Most drivers are aware ofthe dangers that darkness, fog and ice can bring, but often leavetoo little time for journeys, which then tempts them to takechances.

"Late nights and a lack of sleep can also increase the risksinvolved when driving. People need to ensure they are alert at alltimes, as well as thinking about the extra precautions they need totake."

To help motorists, Norwich Union has produced 10 top tips forwinter safety:

  • Reduce speed and increase braking distances to avoidskids
  • In fog don't rely on another driver's judgement by followingtail lights
  • Switch headlights on in fog, mist and rain and leave extratime for journeys
  • If you’re feeling tired or having trouble concentrating,pull over and take a rest or delay your journey
  • Keep windscreens clean and washer bottle topped with screenanti-freeze to aid visibility in bad weather and check wiperblades are completely free of snow and ice
  • Avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel in snow or ice -don't brake or accelerate suddenly
  • Give motorcyclists and cyclists a wide berth – they mayalso have difficulties in adverse weather
  • Use a high gear if driving on a slippery surface
  • Change tyres with less than 2mm of tread to ensure maximumsafety (legal limit is 1.6mm across three-quarters of thetyre)
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car. Include a tow rope, sparefuel in an approved can, shovel, screen scraper and de- icer,spare clothes, boots, blanket and first aid kit

Press contact:
Matthew Buchanan/Anja Kueppers at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or JennyChapman/Liz Kennett at Norwich Union on 08703 66 68 64

Notes to Editors:

  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. In generalinsurance it is more than 1.5 times the size of its nearestcompetitor, and has a 19 per cent share of the market.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies, and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on thisinternet site
  • A selection of images is available from the CGNU Newscast siteat www.newscast.co.uk
  • An ISDN line is available. Call the press office 08703 66 6868
  • Norwich Union Insurance Limited Registered in England Number99122 Registered Office 8 Surrey Street Norwich NR1 3NG
  • Member of the CGNU Group of companies and of the GeneralInsurance Standards Council

For all life & pensions media enquiries 08703 66 68 73
For all other media enquiries 08703 66 68 68

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