Motorists told how to prepare for snow, sleet and ice

Motorists should be making sure that their cars are now winter ready. While it is reasonably mild as I write, you can be sure the bad weather isn’t far away. I came upon this advice from UK breakdown organisation Gem Motoring Assist, which is urging motorists to take extra care, with plunging temperatures and winter weather.

Road journeys are more difficult and treacherous when there is ice on roads, foggy conditions or a fall of snow. Gem is encouraging drivers to make good use of some simple safety tips in order to reduce the chance of risk, delay and difficulty – and to avoid putting additional strain on the emergency services and breakdown providers who are likely to be at full stretch in winter weather.

If there is bad weather out, don’t drive if you don’t really need to. The easiest way to avoid trouble from winter conditions is to postpone your journey.

If you do have to travel, ensure your car is properly equipped for the likely conditions. That’s because if you do experience a breakdown, you will most likely have to wait longer until help arrives. So get a winter check-up completed on your car – or at the very least ensure the battery is in the best possible shape. You should also listen for weather updates, and plan your travel accordingly.

Prepare a set of essential items to take with you, including a fully charged mobile phone, torch, ice scraper, food, water, jump leads, first aid kit, and warm clothes. If you live in areas that are susceptible to heavy snow, you should also carry a shovel and a supply of sand or gravel to assist with grip if your wheels are spinning.

In winter conditions, keep your speeds down, leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front, give room to snowploughs and gritter trucks, and be ready for sudden, rapid deteriorations in conditions.

Remember that driving in conditions like this is hard work. You are likely to become tired much more quickly than in less challenging conditions. So ensure you build in breaks on your journeys.

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