Stay safe on the roads this winter

Published: Saturday 27th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Are you prepared for any motoring eventuality this winter? Plan ahead with our guide to kitting out your car and yourself for the bad weather.

Staying safe on the roads in winter is not just about driving carefully, it’s about planning for situations that may arise due to bad weather or other people’s poor driving. To make sure you are safe and well should you get stuck in bad weather, or even a lengthy traffic jam, here are six simple life-savers…

1. The most basic and one of the easiest tips to staying safe on the roads in winter, and any other time of the year, is to keep hydrated . A bottle of water in the car can make the difference between a long but comfortable stretch in the car and a boring, headache-filled endurance test. Try to keep a large bottle of water in the cabin, but not in the boot where it could freeze. Also, refresh the water regularly, so it is pleasant to drink and it keeps the bottle topped up. You could also carry a flask of tea, coffee or soup to warm you up if you become stuck in snow or traffic.

2. Food is also vital to keep in the car in case of an emergency. Rather than sandwiches, keep a stock of food that will last for a long time in the car and is full of energy such as chocolate bars and nuts. For fresh food, fruit is great as it gives a slow release of energy and comes in a natural wrapper.

3. When you have the dining options taken care of, you also need to think about staying warm . Using the car’s heater is fine when you’re driving, but it might not always be available, if you break down for instance. A good winter coat is a must, but also think about layers as they will keep you warmer even when sat still. A couple of fleeces are ideal to pack in the boot, while a hat and gloves are also essential. You could also consider packing a blanket to wrap around yourself if you know you are going to be stationary for a long time. Even so, try to keep moving regularly if it’s safe to get out of the car.

4. Another vital item of clothing is what you put on your feet . High heels might be perfect for the office, but wellies or a pair of walking shoes will be more use in a snow drift. Make sure these shoes have good grips and are waterproof as cold, wet feet will make you feel much worse.

5. Getting stuck in snow or on icy roads is common in winter, so a tow rope is essential in any car’s winter kit bag. You might never need it yourself, but it could help you be the Good Samaritan to help another driver get unstuck. Follow the instructions on the tow rope packet and use it safely. Make sure your own car is always able to get going too so you don’t become part of the problem while trying to help others.

6. Finally, one of the easiest things to put in your car for winter is fuel. Do not risk running out of petrol or diesel by letting the fuel needle hover into the red. As soon as the tank drops into the half empty zone, fill up. It might mean more frequent fuel stops in the winter months, but it also means you will never worry about keeping the engine running to stay warm and dry if you get snowed in on a journey.

Copyright Press Association 2014

Published: Saturday 27th December 2014 by The News Editor

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