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10May 2019

Why it’s more dangerous to drive in winter

Winter driving

Winter is… Well, winter’s here. The chill has set in, the warmth is all but gone, and people are pulling out their thermals. Which could be an overreaction if you live in Durban, where winter just means less humidity and the need for a slightly lower SPF. Regardless of how low the temps dip in your neck of the woods, it seems that this time of year is more dangerous for road users.

Here’s a look into why winter brings out more crashes so that you can be prepared and take more care while driving during the colder months. We like you in 1 piece (same goes for your car).

The cold affects your body

When your body gets cold, it focuses its blood flow back to the core, which is your chest. So, your extremities, like your fingers and toes and even your arms, start to feel numb. Practically speaking, your bodily reactions are slower, so as you force your icy arms and fingers from the steering wheel to the handbrake, you’ll experience a general sluggishness.

It’s sort of like moving your arms through warmish honey. That’s why you need to make sure that you turn the heater on and drive more cautiously.

Drinking and driving

If you’re among those that enjoy the odd glass of sherry, adult hot chocolate, or Gluhwein to get the cold out of your bones and wake your body up… Let us tell you that alcohol only makes it seem like you feel warmer. It’s actually having the opposite effect. You see, alcohol opens up tiny blood vessels in your skin and open blood vessels lose heat much faster.

Wondering why alcohol makes you all hot and sweaty if we’ve just told you that it has the opposite effect? Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down, so your body is actively trying to get cold again. Which defeats the purpose of that hot toddy you just downed in order to hit the road feeling warm and alert.

And obviously we need to say right here and now that drinking and driving is just the biggest no-no of all times. It dulls your senses, slows your reaction times, and impairs your judgement. Rather savour that sherry when you’re at home and aren’t planning on getting behind the wheel.

The cold also affects the road

Wet, cold roads make it harder to control your car, while fog and rain can limit your vision. Oh, and did we mention that these common elements of winter also mean that your car will perform slower? That’s not all. There’s also the impact on the roads themselves. Cold weather can crack concrete, heavy rains can cause temporary flooding, the rain can also wear out structures, and sleet impairs friction on asphalt.

 

We don’t mean to take away from the magic that is winter. There’s hot chocolate, snuggling, cosy clothes, and the possibility of a romantic night in front of the fire… But when it comes to your safety on the road, we just want you to be safe. And part of being safe is being aware of the potential dangers. Knowing what the roads are like in winter can help you drive that much more safely.

Of course, who would we be if we didn’t also shine a little light on the fact that our royal car insurance is there for you, offering comprehensive cover to help you through any winter mishaps on the road. There’s also our decreasing premiums, which means that you pay less every month for your royal cover, leaving you with more cash for the perfect winter getaway.

Get a quote right here or call our client care team on 0860 50 50 50. They’ll sort you right out and leave you with a smile on your face, no matter what the temperature.