IAM advises drivers to prepare for the cold snap
Peter Rodger, IAM chief examiner, said: 'A recent survey has found that ten out of 11 rural councils still have not managed to complete all the necessary road repairs after last winter’s severe weather, and it is likely that budget cuts will make things worse. If this problem is reflected across the country, having a well-maintained car, with particular attention to your tyres, is going to be even more important.'
The IAM has suggested some easy tips for drivers to prepare their cars:
1. Make sure windscreen wipers are in good condition and that the inside of the windscreen is regularly cleaned.
2. Top up windscreen washer fluid with suitable anti-freeze screenwash and make sure the ice scraper and old cans of de-icer are up to the job. Drivers should ensure windscreen wipers are switched off when they start the ignition, as if they freeze in the "on" position it could blow the fuse.
3. Check tyres thoroughly. The legal minimum for tyre tread in the UK is 1.6mm, but, for optimum safety, look for replacements if the depth is below 3mm. Tyres with less than 1mm of tread depth have one third the braking friction of one at the bare legal min of 1.6mm, and below 3mm the tyres skid resistance begins to decline rapidly.
4. Check all lights. While someone observes the lights around the car, switch on each light one-by-one: headlights, sidelights, fog lights, indicators, brake lights, reversing lights, hazard warning lights and number plate lights. If alone, drivers should park by a reflective surface such as a garage door, illuminate all lights in sequence and look for the reflections.
5. Pack an emergency kit in the boot. The IAM recommends a warm coat and a high visibility jacket, some food and water, a good pair of boots, de-icer and scraper, a torch, a spade and a mobile phone with a well-charged battery. It’s also a good idea for drivers to programme their breakdown provider's emergency number, and their own customer reference number into their phone.
6. If drivers take any regular, essential medications, they should make sure they carry enough with them in case of any delays.