Christmas is now upon us and it’s worth being prepared for adverse weather, which lets face it, we should be starting to get used to now.

A lot of people got caught out in the recent floods, and in previous winters drivers have had to ditch their cars in the snow and walk. If the worst happened, you need to be prepared, and that means carrying some important things in the boot of your car.

Your checklist should include warm clothing, blankets, drinks and food, a torch, a shovel, suitable footwear, a reflective warning sign, a first aid kit, battery jump leads, a map for any unplanned diversions, and a mobile phone adapter so that you can call for help. You might not carry many of these things today, but they could all make life a lot more bearable in a crisis.

Of course, leaving your car in favour of walking is a worst case scenario and by maintaining your vehicle properly, you can give yourself the best chance of getting from A to B. Important at any time, but especially when the weather is bad, the key things to focus on are:

. Checking tyre pressures at least once a month and never let tyres drop below the regulation tread depth of 1.6mm

. Check that your lights are clean and in working order

. The windscreen should be clean and wipers working properly

. Ensure any chips in your windscreen are fixed as soon as possible

. Check the brakes and battery

. Check the exhaust system for leaks

. Ensure you have enough antifreeze which is rated with sufficient strength for the coldest possible weather

I would never advocate taking risks, and if conditions look treacherous it best not to drive. But if you have no choice, or you get caught out, being prepared will pay off. Plan the journey to avoid the worst hit roads, tell someone where you are going and allow extra time so that you don’t have to take any risks.

If the worst happens and you do get stuck it’s a safe bet your delay will be put firmly into perspective by the 200 mile traffic jam on the M-10 outside Moscow recently!

Happy Christmas

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