Two quick checks to help avoid getting stranded in this weekend’s weather

Two quick checks to help avoid getting stranded in this weekend’s weather
Spending just 20 minutes carrying out some simple safety checks could dramatically cut the risk of drivers getting stranded when the snow returns this weekend.

With icy conditions and showers forecast across the UK from Friday night, the RAC is urging drivers to check their tyres and car battery before heading out on the roads after attending a record number of breakdowns when ‘the Beast from the East’ hit earlier this month.

Cold weather can slow down car batteries and reduce their ability to hold a charge, so it’s important motorists check their car is in working order well before their journey.

Good tyre tread is also vital during spells of cold weather as vehicles will need the “maximum grip possible” on the roads.

These “essential” checks only take a few minutes each to complete.

READ MORE: Top car tips in the extreme cold – DIY fixes to try

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “With the beast from the East forecast to take another bite at Britain, motorists who have to be on the road at the weekend need to prepare themselves properly.

“Motorists planning to drive should also ensure their vehicles are fully prepared to reduce the chance of breaking down in the first place. Good tyre tread is essential in snowy and icy conditions to give the maximum possible grip and leaving up to 10 times the gap between you and the car in front is essential to give sufficient stopping time.”

The organisation also advises drivers to take an emergency winter breakdown kit in their cars – as well as ensuring they’ve topped up their vehicles with a good quality screen wash which will continue to work in well below sub-zero temperatures.

Mr Williams added: “With so many cases of vehicles being stranded on major routes in the last cold snap we are urging everyone to make sure they have a winter emergency breakdown kit in their cars so they aren’t caught out should the worst happen.

READ MORE: 10 signs your car isn’t ready for the winter

“This should include a fully charged mobile phone and back-up portable power bank, boots, a warm waterproof coat, a blanket or sleeping bag, some food and drink and an ice scraper. It would also be advisable to carry a shovel and some old carpet as it gives drivers a chance of being able to get their vehicles going again if they get stuck in snow.

“It is also vital that motorists top up with a good quality screenwash which protects down to around at least -15C. In the late February freeze we dealt with thousands of drivers who had fallen foul of using poor quality, ready-made screenwash which froze giving them no way of keeping their windscreens clear.”

Mr Williams added the RAC is still warning drivers only to only make “absolutely essential” journeys in areas where snow risk is “high”.

He said: “If the snow risk is high by far the best advice is not to drive unless it is absolutely essential. As this bad weather is due to hit at the weekend it should affect fewer motorists as the need to drive is not as great as it is in the working week.”

The Met Office has already issued yellow and amber weather warnings for snow and ice across most of the UK over the weekend, with the worst weather forecast for the Midlands and South East.

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.