With increasing instances of extreme weather causing more and more problems at unexpected times of year, it is sensible to consider how safe and prepared you are for bad weather as a motorist, especially if you drive regularly or are planning any long distance drives on the roads today. Taking a few simple precautions can ensure your safety on our British roads during the year.

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1. Check your fuel. Try not to let your fuel levels drop to low as it's not much fun being out of fuel in the snow.
2. Screenwash. Two things to bear in mind here, keeping it topped up (you use a lot more of this in the winter) and making sure it has a proper additive at the right concentration. You don’t want it to freeze.
4. Battery. Your battery capacity tends to drop with the temperature, it’s one of those things so it’s worth remembering if you have trouble starting up on a cold morning.
5. Check your tyres . They are your only contact with the road, tyres should be at least 3mm in the winter but the deeper the better. Tyres also need to be to the correct tyre pressure to give the motorist the best chance in extreme conditions - the cold causes tyres to deflate - they can loose 1 psi for every 10° of temperature drop.. Fitting new tyres just before winter hits can help improve your chances of staying on the road.
6. Use your lights. As we come into the winter months, motorists are advised to use dipped head lights during the day so you are easily seen. Headlights and taillights should be in working order and should be checked daily.
7. Understand your brakes. Check your car manual and find out if your vehicle has safety assist technology such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Anti Lock Braking System (ABS). Learn how these technologies can assist your driving in harsh weather conditions.
8. Safe Distance. It takes longer to stop a car during the winter weather so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the car in front.
9. Make sure you can clearly see. All too often motorists do not de-fog or de-ice windows and mirrors which can compromise visibility. This winter ensure windows and mirrors are clear, and carry a de-icer and screen scraper. Do not use boiling water as this can crack the windscreen.
10. Beware of "Black Ice". Black Ice is one of winter's biggest hazards as it is difficult to see. Watch out for sheltered/ shaded areas on roads, under trees and near high walls.
11. Be prepared. During these winter months it is advised that motorists carry a number of essentials in the boot of their car.
  a. A car blanket, additional clothing and some food and water.
  b. Appropriate footwear in case you need to leave your vehicle e.g. boots
  c. A hazard triangle.
  d. Spare wheel
  e. Tow rope
  f. A shovel
  g. De-icing equipment (for glass and door locks)
  h. First aid kit
  i. A fire extinguisher
  j. A working torch
12. In the event of a breakdown. Drivers need to ensure their vehicle is well in off the road so as not to obstruct other vehicles. The driver should also put on their hazard warning lights and use a triangle if your have one these should be place at least four car lengths away from the car facing traffic. If the vehicle breaks down on the motorway pull in as far as you can, alerting traffic behind you with hazard lights. The driver should leave their vehicle, get behind the barrier (on the embankment) and call for assistance, on their mobile phone or roadside telephone.
13. Keep up to date. Listen to local weather and traffic reports. Pay attention to the weather warnings alerting drivers of unsafe and dangerous driving conditions.
14. Desperate measures. It happened a lot last year, people getting stranded for hours at a time. If you do have to spend the night in your car you’ll be extremely glad you packed a hat, scarf, coat, blanket, duvet…Food too, keep something in the glovebox, a bar of chocolate and a sandwich also a flask of something hot– you may need it.