Prepare for wintry weather, warns RAC Live

Article date: 28 February 2006

With a recent drop in temperatures and snow starting to fallacross the country, traffic and travel experts at RAC Live areadvising motorists to be prepared for driving in freezingconditions.

Over the next few days winter weather is expected to bring chaos tomany motorists who haven't made preparations before setting out ona journey.

RAC Live is warning all motorists to be aware that snow, sleet andblack ice not only slows down traffic speed, increasing journeytimes, it can also make driving conditions hazardous, raising therisk of accidents and standstills on the road.

In wintry weather conditions those who do have to travel shouldmake sure that they are prepared for any eventuality before theyset out and follow this advice:

  • Plan your journey and where possible use major routes, whichmay have been gritted/salted
  • Consider telling someone of your departure time, route,destination and estimated time of arrival
  • If you take medication ensure you have extra supplies ifnecessary
  • Take a mobile phone with you and remember to make sure it isfully charged
  • If it's safe and legal to do so, dial 1740* on your mobile forRAC Live traffic reports and weather reports, and tune into yourlocal radio for information on routes
  • Use a windscreen scraper or a de-icer to remove ice from everywindow on your vehicle
  • Do not use warm water as this may cause the windscreen tocrack. Carry a key de-icer with you to clear your lock
  • Use the vehicle's air conditioning to help speed up thedemisting of your windscreen
  • Wrap up warm and take a blanket, waterproof clothing andsensible footwear
  • Take some high energy food such as chocolate or carry athermos flask of hot soup
  • Ensure you have enough fuel for your journey as vehicles usemore fuel when driving in winter conditions.

In severe weather conditions it is also advisable to carry agood tow rope, snow chains and a shovel.

Rather than risk being stranded and adding to problems on the road,motorists can follow these tips to avoid a breakdown:

  • Check your battery - wet and cold weather starting and drivingconditions – due to a need to use thedemister/wipers/heater/air conditioning and possibly the headlamps- impose a much greater burden on the battery especially on shortjourneys (under 15 miles) when the engine doesn't have the time toreplace the battery power drain. To minimise the drain motoristsshould switch off non-essential electrical equipment and switchoff any equipment once it has fulfilled its duty
  • Check you have enough fuel for your journey. Vehicles use morefuel when driving in cold conditions
  • Check oil and water levels and ensure you use antifreeze
  • Check your tyre pressure and tread depth - and don't forgetthe spare
  • Make sure your screen wash bottle is full and contains theright amount of additive to help maintain a clear screen
  • Check headlights and indicators. Make sure lenses are freefrom damage and are kept clean to ensure you can see and beseen
  • Check front and rear wiper blades for wear or splitting
  • If you do breakdown, make sure you know where you are and, tohelp locate you, where possible use the orange coloured SOS phonesto call for assistance
  • In the event of a breakdown on the motorway, follow the safetyadvice given.


Notes to editors:

Media-only travel hotlines (not for publication): fortravel news and interviews, journalists can call Tess Richardson inthe RAC press office on 020 8917 2980 / 07860 633 656, or the RACPress Office on 020 8917 2742

About RAC
With more than seven million members, RAC isthe UK's longest established motoring organisation, providingservices to both private and business motorists. Whether it'sroadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning todrive, vehicle inspections, legal and financial services orup-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able tomeet motorists’ needs.

Aviva recently announced its acquisition of RAC. The acquisitionbrings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with theexpertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich UnionInsurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largestinsurer, insuring one-in-seven motor vehicles and with a marketshare of around 14%.

*Calls to RAC Live 1740 service cost up to 59p per minute: checkwith your network operator.

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