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Driving Home For Christmas - Part One

Driving home for Christmas presents a few hazards that aren’t there for the rest of the year. Over the next two weeks, we share our experts’ top ten risks of festive driving, and what you can do to stay safe.

  1. That wonderful Great British weather can cause hazards on the road. Snow is probably unlikely – although not impossible, but the biggest risk comes from heavy rainfall, leaving surface water on the road. In warmer temperatures this puts you at risk of aquaplaning, but if the temperatures drop to around freezing you could be faced with icy roads. Watch out for black ice, and if there is or has been heavy rainfall, moderate your speed to stay safe.
  2. You aren’t the only one to feel the cold, your car does, too. If it is cold and frosted up, be gentle; take time to let the engine warm up and make sure that the windscreen is fully defrosted before you start your journey. A little TLC can help to go a long way.
  3. Make sure that you fill up on fuel the day before the journey; you don’t want to be caught out by long queues or limited garage opening hours over the holidays. If you can, keep your fuel tank over half full if temperatures are predicted to drop to freezing.
  4. While you are at the garage, check your tyre pressure. In the colder weather, the air in your tyres will compress, so you may need to add a little extra air. Getting the right tyre pressure is especially important when it is wet or icy as it will help you to maintain control of your vehicle. If you are in doubt about what your tyre pressure should be, or you think that your tyre tread might be a little low, head to your local garage to get it checked out before you go anywhere.
  5. That Christmas tipple may seem like a good idea at the time but driving when over the limit puts you and others at risk. Even if you feel fine, don’t drink and drive. Guidance says that you can have a small drink with a meal, but the sensible thing to do is to refrain from drinking at all if you know you will be driving later. The same goes for the morning after: if you have had a heavy night, the chances are that you will still be over the limit in the morning. If you notice that the car in front of you is driving erratically, keep plenty of distance and be ready to stop if you need to.

Do you want to know more? Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for next week’s instalment.

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