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Driving SAFELY home for ChristmasBack

DrivingHome4ChristmasToday is reportedly one of the busiest days to travel this Christmas. Millions of people will be getting into their cars and making the drive home for Christmas, meaning traffic will be much heavier than normal.

In order to ensure that everyone makes it home safe this Christmas, Trusted Dealers has listed a few important dos and don’ts below  when getting behind the wheel.

Winter tyres

Now is a good time to consider switching to winter tyres. Winter tyres are specifically designed for the colder weather and are built to withstand sub-zero temperatures. The higher natural rubber content in winter tyres keeps them softer than normal tyres at temperatures of below 7 degrees and allows them to better grip the roads in icy, slippery conditions. If you decide to opt for normal tyres this winter, make sure they are fully inflated to the correct pressure and the tread is at least 3mm before you set off.

Servicing your car

If you’re travelling a long way, it might be worth getting your car checked or even serviced before you set off.  Garages such as Kwik Fit and retailer Halfords both offer free winter checks to include checking batteries, car light bulbs, windscreen wiper blades and oil and screen-wash levels. Certain manufacturers will also offer winter checks for cars costing within the region of £20. Or, if you think your car might need a more thorough check, why not  book in now for a routine service with a Trusted Dealer to avoid the risk of a winter breakdown.

Car battery check

In winter, your car battery can be one of the causes behind a break down, in fact, the AA has quoted that flat batteries are one of the biggest causes of winter breakdowns. Many drivers fail to realise that the cold conditions can put a real strain on your battery – in winter we use our lights, wipers and heater much more than the warmer months. Car batteries have a shelf life of around 5 years, so if you know your battery is approaching that ages or has exceeded it, it is worth investing in a new one.

Be prepared

In the event of a breakdown, it’s is important to be prepared. At Christmas time there is likely to be longer waits for breakdown recovery vehicles due to the sheer volume of traffic on the roads, so having an emergency breakdown kit in your boot will help. Items you should consider including are:

  • A Hi-visibility vest
  • A first aid kit
  • Mobile phone charger
  • 1 litre of water
  • De-icer and an ice scraper
  • A snow hovel
  • A tow rope
  • Sturdy footwear
  • A torch
  • Warm fleecy top
  • A few tins of food and a tin opener
  • A blanket

Be cautious

If the weather is bad, take extra precautions to stay safe. Increase the stopping distances between yourself and the car in front. Adopt a slow and careful approach when performing manoeuvres, use second gear when your set off if the roads are slippery to gain a better grip and limit wheel spin, and if you have to brake, do it gently to avoid locking and to enable you to steer your car to safety if required.

Sign up for breakdown cover

If you haven’t got breakdown cover already included in your car insurance policy, it is well worth signing up for it now. For a small monthly fee, basic breakdown cover will usually include 24/7 roadside assistance for breakdowns of over 1/4 mile from home, and up to 2 call-outs per year. You can upgrade to more comprehensive packages if you’re willing to pay slightly more.

Posted by Leana Kell on 21/12/2015