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Personal Lines Perspective | August 2022

Motor | Tips for Avoiding Summer Breakdowns

Roads are often busier during the summer months due to overseas tourists and Britons on staycation. With additional traffic, it may take longer for roadside assistance specialists to reach you if your vehicle breaks down. To make matters worse, many breakdowns are preventable through proper vehicle maintenance. However, according to the RAC, only a fifth of drivers regularly check their vehicles are ready for long journeys. Make sure you don’t become a breakdown statistic this summer by considering these tips:

  • Check oil and coolant levels. To avoid engine overheating, keep oil and coolant at optimal levels—between the minimum and maximum guide marks for your vehicle. Topping-up coolant regularly might signal a problem that needs fixing, so take your car to a garage.
  • Check your car battery. With homeworking now common, more vehicles are being left on driveways. A flat battery is more likely in infrequently-used vehicles. Run the engine at least once a week for 15 minutes and consider having your battery checked before long journeys.
  • Top-up screen wash. Use a good quality screen wash totop-up your windscreen washer fluid. Not only will it help keep your field of view clear of insects, but a cleaner windscreen may also help you cope better with sun glare.
  • Look after your tyres. Your tyres are your only connection with the road, so looking after them is vital. Check tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and have at least 3mm of tread—vital for road grip. Additionally, watch for signs of wear and replace tyres as necessary.
  • Remember the basics. Before you start your journey, check for any dashboard warning lights. Additionally—although it may seem obvious—ensure you have sufficient fuel because it may deplete quicker in heavy traffic.
  • Be prepared. If the worst should happen, make sure you’re adequately prepared. Have emergency food and drinks in your vehicle and your locking wheel nut easily accessible in case of a tyre change. Furthermore, don’t forget breakdown cover.

Home | Using Electric Fans Safely

A good electric fan can work wonders by wicking heat and sweat away from your body. However, in doing the job to cool you, surprisingly, electric fans can get rather hot themselves. This can present a fire risk, hazardous to both you and your family. Reduce fire risk and stay safe this summer by considering these tips:

  • Buy from reputable sellers. Buy an electric fan from a retailer you know and trust and avoid third party sellers and online marketplaces. If possible, avoid buying second-hand electric fans. Once purchased, register your fan with the manufacturer to be kept abreast of any safety recalls.
  • Inspect fans regularly. Conduct regular checks of your fan’s plug and socket, looking for burn marks. Additionally, listen out for ‘arcing’ (buzzing and crackling) sounds. If you notice any suspicious signs or your fan feels hot to touch, turn it off immediately and contact the manufacturer. As older motors can overheat, replace your fan every few years.
  • Use fans safely. Don’t leave your fan running when you’re out of the house. Additionally, be careful when children or pets are nearby.

Life | Five Steps to Mental Well-being

The current cost-of-living crisis is a worry for many UK households, contributing to increased stress levels. And it’s followed the COVID-19 pandemic, which itself took a toll on many people’s mental well-being. In fact, around a third of adults and young people have seen their mental health worsen since March 2020, according to research by mental health charity Mind. Look after your mental well-being by considering the following five tips:

  1. Connect with people. Good relationships are important for mental well-being. They can provide an outlet to share experiences—both positive and negative—and give you a sense of belonging. Arrange a day out with a friend or consider volunteering to meet new people.
  2. Be physically active. Being active is beneficial for both physical and mental health. In fact, as little as just 10 minutes of exercise can increase your mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Find a physical activity you enjoy and try incorporating exercise into your daily life.
  3. Learn new skills. Learning a new skill can enhance your mental well-being. In fact, 80% of learners reported improved self-confidence or self-esteem following a training course, according to data by the government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Find a way to try something new, such as cooking, DIY or taking on a new responsibility at work.
  4. Give to others. Giving to people may create positive feelings, a sense of reward and comfort in connecting with others. You may wish to try volunteering, but even small acts of kindness can enhance your well-being. Consider offering help to someone you know or spending time with friends or relatives that need support.
  5. Practise mindfulness. With the hustle and bustle of life, sometimes it’s important to focus on the present moment. Mindfulness may help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. The NHS website suggests steps to be mindful in your everyday life.

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