September 1st marks the official end of the silly season. As Bankstone Readers will doubtless be well aware, the term “silly season” refers to the extraordinary situation that arises each year during the summer holiday season (SHS) when, for a few brief weeks, PR departments can put out any old guff on behalf of their clients and expect to see it dutifully trotted out in the pages of insurance publications – something that would never, of course, occur at any other time of year.
Rather than bow out quietly as the open season for PR boll*cks expires, AXA’s media relations people have decided to go out with a bang. The bare minimum requirement for a printable press release is at least one date or “statistic”. With a neat flourish, the French insurer takes the passing of the summer as the peg from which to hang a solemn warning to Britain’s motorists never to drive on September 1.
“But why?”, you may ask, all wide-eyed innocence. Because this is literally the most dangerous day for driving of the entire SHS.
They’ve even got some “stats” to back this extraordinary claim. Last year, AXA maintains, it received 40% more claims on 1 September than on an average day during the SHS. In the two previous years, claims on 1 Sept were 30% higher than average. This year, the carnage could be even worse than usual, the insurer warns, as the dreaded 1 September falls on a Saturday, the traditional holiday changeover day.
For anyone who does insist on travelling on the dreaded day, AXA has a handy “top ten tips” prepared. These include: don’t rush (you’ll probably crash if you do), don’t set out without knowing where you’re going (you’ll probably crash if you do), don’t forget to take a break now and then, so you don’t get too tired (you’ll probably crash if you do), “keep snacks and drinks in the car and don’t forget to consume them to keep your blood sugar levels high (you’ll probably crash if you do), don’t forget to plug your children firmly into in-car screen-based entertainment (you’ll probably crash if you do), don’t forget to use your phone in hands-free mode (you’ll probably crash if you do).
The best advice, however, of course is “avoid 1 September”.