Driving This Christmas?

Driving in winter Are you’re planning on driving during the holiday season, either to visit friends and family, or to head off on a winter break?  Driving during the Christmas period can be a stressful experience, but there are a lot of things you can do to make it more enjoyable, and to keep you and your family safe.  Here are a few winter driving tips to help you survive the holiday season with your nerves intact! 1.    Plan ahead Map out your route before you leave.  Not only will this save you time trying to puzzle out the map or the confusing GPS instructions while you’re on the road, it will also give you a chance to get some early warning of any likely road works, traffic disruptions or other issues.  Have an alternative route planned in case things go wrong. Useful places to look at when planning your route include:

2.    Look after your car Before you start your journey, make sure that your car is in good shape.  Top up the fuel tank, and check all other fluid levels.  Make sure that your tyres and brakes are in good condition and that your battery is well charged. 3.    Pack an Emergency Kit Even if you aren’t going far, it’s a good idea to carry a small “emergency kit” with you.  This driving in winterkit should contain a basic first aid kit with bandages, plasters, pain killers and antiseptic wipes, as well as some bottled water, a couple of non-perishable snacks, a spare jumper, a blanket, and a flashlight.  It’s also a good idea to have a shovel and a set of jump leads in the back of your car.  Make sure your mobile phone is charged before you leave as well. The RAC have provided a good packing list here. 4.    Watch Out for Ice Driving in snow can be difficult, but driving in icy conditions is even more dangerous.  Many drivers fail to notice black ice because it is transparent and blends in to the road.  This means that they don’t reduce their speed until it is too late.  When it’s cold outside, it’s a good idea to slow down slightly and leave extra space between you and the car in front. If you do enter a skid, don’t panic, steer into the skid and resist the urge to stamp on the brakes.  When driving in slippery conditions the secret is to accelerate, decelerate and steer slowly and gently. 5.    Don’t Drink During the festive season, the temptation to have a drink or two before you hit the road can be high.  Even a small alcoholic drink will impair your driving ability, so please resist the temptation to have a drink before you drive. If several of your friends drive, consider taking turns to be the designated driver so that you can all enjoy a drink at least once during the holidays. You’d never forgive yourself if one of your friends was involved in an accident because they were drunk behind the wheel. Photos: starshaped, ajball90

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