How to be Prepared for Anything on the Road

Anything can happen when you are driving, so it’s important to be prepared. By taking a few basic measures, you can improve the outcome of almost any random situation on the road. Those who don’t think twice about all of the dangers on the road are usually the ones who are most affected. In this article you will learn a number of tips that can help you avoid disaster when you are behind the wheel.

Make a Checklist of Items to Keep in Your Car

There are a number of things that you should have in your car for an emergency, including:

  • A first aid kit in case of injury
  • Flashlight
  • Water for hydration
  • Blanket to keep warm if your car breaks down in cold weather
  • Jumper cables in case your battery dies
  • Air pump to inflate tyres
  • Multi-tool
  • Tire pressure gauge

Any one of these items can help you out tremendously, so it’s important to keep them in your car at all times. Most of these things are cheap and don’t cost a lot of money.

Scan Your Entire Field of Vision

When you are driving you should regularly scan your entire field of vision, including the cars beside and in back of you. This will let you know what is going on around you at all times. The more vigilant you are, the easier it will be to react if something unexpected happens.

Maintain Proper Cover

Those who have breakdown cover on their insurance policy will be prepared for almost any situation. Whether your car’s battery dies or you get a flat tyre, you will have a number that you can call to get help right away. This type of cover can be helpful in a wide variety of situations, so it’s important to have it. You might need to pay extra, but it is well worth the money.

If your car ever needs to be towed from the side of the road, your breakdown cover will provide you with an easy and cheap way to get it to a nearby garage. You will only be able to take advantage of it so many times each year, but it’s extremely convenient. Sites such as Roadside.co.uk can help you compare breakdown cover policies at the click of a button.

Keep Your Phone Close by

If you get involved in an accident or your car breaks down, it is important to have your phone close by. This will allow you to call for the help you need and minimize the overall stress of the situation. Some people even keep a cheap spare phone in their glove compartment, which is something to consider. If your primary mobile phone is out of battery, you can use the back up to call for help.

Know the Rules of the Road

New drivers should familiarize themselves with all the rules of the road to avoid making any potentially disastrous mistakes. The more you know about proper driving, the more prepared you will be. This knowledge will help you know exactly what to do in a crucial moment.

Use Your Indicators

Your turn signals can be very helpful to yourself and others on the road, so you should use them whenever you execute a turn. It only takes a flick of the wrist, and it could prevent an accident. You should also pay close attention to others who use their signals so you know what they plan to do. While not everyone uses their turn signals, it is important to get into the habit.

Know Your Car

You should be intimately familiar with the various features and functions of your car. This is an essential part of being prepared as a driver. When you know the limitations of your car and how it behaves, you will know how to act in an emergency. Those who overestimate their car’s own abilities are at a much higher risk of getting into an accident. How does your car handle turns? How quickly does it accelerate? These are just a couple things to think about before you get behind the wheel again.

Keep Both Hands on the Wheel

When you have both hands on the wheel at the traditional 10 and 2 position, you will be much more prepared than if you are just using one hand. Both hands on the wheel gives you complete control over your vehicle, which is always a good thing.

Take Your Vehicle in for Routine Maintenance

Finally, it is important that you take your car in for routine maintenance and inspections. When you know that your car is in good condition, you can drive confidently. It will also enable you to respond to emergency situations to the best of your ability. Neglecting routine maintenance makes driving on the road far more dangerous than it needs to be.

How Can I Protect Myself Against Interest Rate Rises?

Interest rate rises are likely to be occurring more these days and possibly more often as well. We have had a long time of very low interest and it is slowly starting to increase now. It can be quite worrying if you have loans or mortgages or are thinking of getting them as you may worry that the repayments might become unaffordable. There are a number of ways that you can protect yourself against rate rises.

Choose fixed rates

Choosing a loan with a fixed rate will mean that you will not have increases in your repayments if the rates rise. These are often available with personal loans or mortgages. They may not be for the full term of the loan, but they can still offer some protection against rate changes. They are normally more expensive than some variable rate loans though, but this can be worth it as you will not have the stress of worrying about coping with unpredictable increases in loan repayments and how you will cope with that. Fixed rates on mortgages only last a few years, but once they have ended you may be able to find another fixed rate that you can move onto and so you will be able to protect yourself again.

Compare and choose cheapest loans

Keeping your variable rate down as low as possible will help a bit as you will not be paying more than necessary. It is therefore wise to check the rates every so often, especially if you’re talking about credit without a credit check and see whether it is worth swapping to a different lender. You do need to be careful of this though. You may get charged by your current lender if you switch and so you need to ask them about this. There may also be set up charges for the new loan which you will have to pay. Therefore make sure that you do all of the calculations and ensure that you will be saving money if you do swap over.

Build up savings

Building up some savings can act as a very useful buffer for you to be able to use in case of finding repayments difficult. If you find that you are struggling, then you will have this money to fall back on. Of course, it is really important to make sure that you budget carefully and make sure that you do save up enough and are not tempted to spend those savings unless you have to. It does take some self-discipline but you can set up a direct debit form your current account to transfer some money into a savings account each month and you will soon start to build up some money. If you want a lump sum of money to start you off you could sell some things that you own and no longer need or use. There are lots of ways that you can do this, such as online auctions, car boot sale or social media groups. You should be able to research the sorts of things that get sold at each of these and you will be able to decide where the best place will be for you to sell your items.

Get a secure job

Having a job that you know will last for the term of the loan can really help to give you some security. It is not easy these days to always find a secure job. However, if you can find something permanent rather than on a contract, then you will know that you will have a regular income. You will also know how much that income will be and so you can calculate whether it is enough to repay the loan. If there are more than one of you in the household that have permanent jobs that can be even better as even if one of you loses their job, there will still be an earner available to provide an income.

Repay Loans Early

It is possible to repay some loans early. You may have to pay a fee to be able to do this and so you need to find out whether this is the case and how much it will be. If you repay more than you need then you will be able to repay the loan more quickly. This means that you might be able to get it all paid off before the rates increase. Even if the rates do go up, you will not have to make so many repayments at this higher rate as you will already have repaid some of it. You may have to budget hard to be able to do this, but it can be worth it if you can save yourself some money and some stress.

So there are a number of things that you can try to do in order to avoid the impact of an increase in interest rates. You may find that you want to do more than one of them or even all of them so that you feel more secure.

Is it Sensible to take a Break from Repaying your Mortgage?

A mortgage is a really big responsibility and it can often feel like a big chore to find the repayments each month. This means that it can be tempting to miss a repayment so that you can have some money available for other things. There are ways of doing this but there are advantages and disadvantages to doing it.

Ways to miss a Repayment

You may think that it is a bit strange to suggest that there are different ways to miss a repayment, but there are. You might just think that you will just not pay for one month and leave it at that, but this is not a sensible idea. You need to keep your lender on board with your idea.

Some people have a flexible mortgage where they are allowed to take payment holidays. These can be really useful if you think that you are likely to need a break, but they will be more expensive as a result. If you have one of these then you will need to notify your lender when you wish to take a break and they will organise it for you.

It is also wise to notify your lender about problems with repayment even if you do not have a flexible mortgage. If you tell them that you are having trouble then they may be able to help you. They might be able to reduce your payments or give you a small payment holiday with a smaller fee compared with you not paying without warning them.

Advantages

The advantages of not paying mean that you will have money available to spend on other things. If you have something that you desperately need, then this can be really handy. If it saves you borrowing money from elsewhere it could also be a useful thing to do if it costs you less than other loans. Obviously you will need to be careful though as you want to make sure that you are using that money wisely.

Not making one or more repayments might enable you to have a significant amount of money available. This could be really useful and help you to feel easier about paying other bills or buying things that you need or want. Not having that huge payment to find for a month or more could give you a great sense of relief.

Disadvantages

The main reason that you need to think hard about doing this is the cost. There will be a cost associated with missing a repayment and this might even apply if you have a flexible mortgage. It is therefore wise to find out how much this will cost you, if you can, before you do it. This will allow you to calculate whether you think that it is worth it.

Missing a repayment will also have an effect on your credit report. It may not show up if you have a flexible mortgage and have arranged a payment holiday but otherwise it will show up. This gives a sign out to other potential lenders that there is a risk that you may not cover the repayments if they loan you money and it could mean that you will end up without being able to get any other loans. You may feel that this will not matter as you do not plan on borrowing any more money. However, not only can we not be completely sure of whether this will be true or not, other people look at credit records too. If you rent a property, for example, the letting agent will check your credit record to decide whether they will be happy to have you as a renter.

Alternative

As well as considering the advantages and disadvantages, it is worth thinking about your alternative options. It might be that you could get a loan in order to help you to cover the cost of the repayment. This will be expensive though and not something that you will be able to do very often. Therefore it could be much more worthwhile to find an alternative way to get extra money instead. If you have any savings, then you could use those, but you may prefer to see if you can save money by spending less or earn more money. There are lots of ways that you can do both of these. You could compare prices and switch some contracts so that you are paying out less for things you buy regularly. You could also cut down on buying things that you do not need so that you save money as well. You could get a better paid job or work more hours to earn extra. You may even want to sell some things that you have and no longer need so that you can get an extra lump sum of money to help you out. There are many options that you can pick from and you should be able to find some that will suit you.