Top 12 Christmas driving tips - Select Car Leasing
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Top 12 Christmas driving tips

Road safety experts have issued their top 12 tips for driving this Christmas.

The coming days could see snow arriving in the UK, with the Met Office predicting flurries in the north of England leading up to Christmas.

The festive period is an exceptionally busy one for Britain’s highways, with an anticipated 6.3 billion miles covered by cars around Christmas and New Year.

The last thing you need at this time of year is to be stuck by the side of the road waiting for rescue - particularly when ice-cold blizzards are on the way.

And here road safety provider GEM Motoring Assist has revealed 12 Chrimbo tips to keep you on the straight and narrow:

1 - Is the journey vital?

If conditions are expected to be bad, ask yourself whether you even need to travel. Could you delay leaving and wait for conditions to improve? Could you use the train instead?

2 - Fit to drive?

A cold or flu can reduce reaction times. Some medication, such as over- the-counter remedies, can cause drowsiness which will make matters worse. Check medicine warnings and if in doubt ask a pharmacist for advice. Consider changing your plans if you’re concerned. After all, anxiety can affect confidence and lead to unsafe decision making.

3 - Check your car

Has your car been serviced recently? It’s a good way to minimise the risk of breakdowns, as well as maximising the fuel economy. Check the tread, condition and pressure in all your tyres. Tread should be well above the legal limit. Not only will good tread give your tyres the best grip but it also disperses water and reduces the risk of aquaplaning.

4 - Check the forecast

Look for weather warnings. As the UK’s official weather service, the Met Office is responsible for issuing weather warnings, which advise on impacts caused by severe weather. Met Office warnings are graded yellow, amber and red depending on how serious they are.

5 - Travel essentials

Be prepared with an essential travel pack. Fully charge your phone and have important numbers with you in case you need to contact family, friends or your breakdown services. Ensure you have plenty of fuel or - if you drive an electric car - that it’s fully charged. Cold weather reduces the available range. Take warm clothes, pack a blanket and refreshments in case there is an unexpected delay.

6 - See and be seen

Clean all the lights and windows before every journey to give the best visibility. This helps you to see others on the road - and allows them to see you.

7 - Prepare for glare

During the winter months the sun can be much lower and this can make it more difficult to see. Consider having sunglasses with you (including a prescription pair) as they can help reduce the glare.

8 - Allow extra time

Try to avoid rushing on a journey. Leave early and accept the likelihood of congestion and delays. This is much better for your nerves than allowing yourself to get worked up because of situations over which you have no control. But do let relatives or friends know the route you are taking and your expected arrival time.

9 - Keep alert

Take more breaks, especially if you’re driving in poor weather. This requires greater concentration which makes everyone more tired. You’ll know when fatigue is affecting you - it doesn’t just take you by surprise. So resist the urge to press on, and take a proper break.

10 - If you do break down…

Make safety your priority. Turn on your hazard lights and try to pull off the road. Ensure you and your vehicle are visible, then call for breakdown assistance.

11 - Check the traffic

There are all sorts of apps offering to make your journey easier and less stressful. National Highways, Traffic Wales, Traffic Scotland and TrafficWatch NI are all national sources of information on road conditions, closures and likely delays.

12 - Closed means closed

Sometimes police and local authorities have to close roads because of flooding or snow. Don’t be tempted to drive through a road closure as you’re only putting yourself, your passengers - and your rescuers - at unnecessary risk.

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