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3rd March 2008

Swinton warns drivers to take care in hail and shine as March snowstorms set in

The Met office has forecast snow and ice for vast swathes of the UK this week and Swinton is warning drivers not to be lulled into a false sense of security when there is bright sun and blue sky the morning after a snowstorm.

Leading high street insurance retailer Swinton reports a 12 per cent increase in car insurance claims immediately following freezing weather conditions, and is expecting claims to rise sharply this week if the forecasted cold weather hits the country.

The risk of skidding and loosing control of vehicles increases dramatically in freezing conditions, and this is reflected in the number of claims recorded. Vehicles don’t have to be travelling at high speeds to be involved in serious accidents. According to Government road safety statistics, it can take ten times longer to stop on snow or ice-covered road, regardless of speed. *

Insurer development manager Steve Chelton warns: “Visibility can be affected when the weather is exceptionally cold, as well as snow and ice causing chaos on roads.

“Many drivers are aware of the dangers of driving when the weather changes and blizzards set in, but there is evidence to suggest that some drivers think that they are immune to these dangers when the sky clears and the sun comes out.

“In many cases, roads are still treacherous with black ice still prevalent. Our panel of insurers see thousands of weather-related claims every year, and we want this to act as a cautionary tale to those who may feel like taking a chance when the temperature drops.”

Steve Chelton continues, “To be forewarned is forearmed, and we wish our customers every care while they are out on the roads as the weather turns colder.”

Swinton has compiled a brief checklist to follow when travelling in poor weather conditions. (see below)

· Switch on headlights
· Check wipers are effective front and back
· Keep a good supply of de-icer and an ice-scraper in your vehicle at all times
· Avoid overtaking
· Slow down, using a lower gear if appropriate
· Keep wing mirrors clean so that rain water drips clear
· Keep your mobile phone charged up and with you in case of an emergency
· Listen to weather updates
· Pack warm clothes and blankets in case of breakdown
· Avoid harsh braking- if you need to brake, pump brakes gently
· Avoid making harsh manoeuvres- steer gently
· Remain in higher gears to avoid wheel spin
· Plan unfamiliar routes and identify places to pull over such as service stations
· Make sure tyres are regularly checked for tread and pressure
· Remember to allow at least double the normal stopping distance when braking, and keep well back from the car in front of you.
· Let someone know where you are going and when your expected arrival time.

* Taken from www.thinkroadsafety.co.uk

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For further information please contact Adele Mandy, Pete Wrathmell or Amy O’Toole at SKV PR on Tel: 0161 236 9909 or email: adele.mandy@skvpr.co.uk

About Swinton

· With 455 branches nationwide Swinton is the largest high street insurance broker

· Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community

· Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance

· With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates

· Swinton offers a ‘clicks and bricks’ approach to insurance - online prices with a high street presence.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of SKV Communications Ltd in the following categories: Personal Finance, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.