Check your car before driving this Christmas

Date published: 20 December 2019

As the country readies itself for the festive period, drivers are being urged to check their vehicles before making trips.

In the lead up to the festive period, the roads are set to be busier than usual with an increase in vehicles out and about for Christmas shopping, or visiting family. On Boxing Day, with just seven out of 20 rail networks functioning, the roads are likely to be busier with people driving.

Breakdown provider Green Flag has released tips ahead of the season to encourage drivers to check their vehicles before they travel and take care on the roads during any adverse weather conditions.

Safety checks to make before setting off on any journey:

  • Diligently check tyres - be sure they are legally inflated with the correct tread. In cold weather, tyre pressure drops, so make sure they are inflated to the vehicles manufacturer's recommended pressure.
  • Check all vehicle lights are working.
  • Be sure to check the oil level is topped up.
  • Apply Antifreeze to keep the engine's cooling system from freezing.
  • Run the car engine or take it for a short drive over the Christmas break to recharge the battery.
  • Carry a warning triangle at all times.
  • Keep a road map in the car.

Common-sense tips for driving in winter:

  • Check your speed and use gentle driving inputs - even if the roads have been gritted they’re likely to be slippery.
  • Give more warning than usual to other drivers - when turning, stopping or changing lane.
  • Keep plenty of distance between cars - you never know when you'll hit an icy patch. If you pass the same landmarks as the car in front of you within three seconds, you’re following too closely.
  • Check whether your car has ABS anti-lock brakes. In the unlikely event that it doesn’t, pump the brake pedal slowly to prevent the wheels locking up and skidding.
  • Be extra-wary of black ice. It’s an invisible danger that can catch out even the most careful driver.
  • Approach corners at a steady speed, in as low a gear as possible. Don't touch the clutch unless it’s absolutely necessary, steer smoothly and avoid braking on bends.
  • Make sure all passengers are wearing seat belts at all times.
  • Ensure you’re familiar with your car’s ventilation system to prevent windows from steaming up. Air conditioning will keep windows free from mist and condensation.

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