Come thunder, lightning or rain 13 Jan 2009

Many motorists will have been glad to see an end to sub-zero temperatures this week but the Royal Automobile Club Foundation is today (13) urging motorists not to become complacent about winter driving.

Winter weather can be changeable as fog, rain, wind, snow and ice can be experienced within the space of a few days. In 2007, January was the month with the single highest road casualty rate – 53 casualties for every 100 million vehicle kilometres* making it all the more important for motorists to prepare themselves and their cars before making a journey at this time of year.

Top tips for winter driving include**:

  • Be sure that your vehicle has been serviced so that it won’t let you down even if the weather does.
  • Keep the cold out of your car by ensuring the anti-freeze in the radiator has been topped up as necessary.
  • Make sure your battery is fully charged. Most batteries last between two and four years. Think about replacing your battery if you are not sure it is reliable.
  • Keep your lights clean and check the bulbs regularly to be prepared for lower visibility and short hours of daylight.
  • Ensure your tyres are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure and have at least 3mm of tread depth as getting a better grip on the road is important in wet or icy conditions.
  • Make sure your wiper blades are in tiptop condition so you can keep your windscreen clean.
  • Keep windows and mirrors clean especially when low winter sun may be an added problem for good visibility.
  • Be sure that your windows are demisted and clear before you set off.
  • Leave plenty of time to get to your destination and plan the route in advance.

Elizabeth Dainton, Research Development Manager for the Royal Automobile Club Foundation says:

‘Drivers will no doubt be relieved by this week’s milder weather, after the sub-zero temperatures and difficult driving conditions of last week.’

‘However, motorists should not get carried away since it is only January and after the wind and rain, some parts of the country may well experience cold conditions again before the spring. Drivers should keep their vehicles prepared for winter driving and leave themselves plenty of time to get to their destinations.’

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