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UK: Prepare for wintry weather, warns RAC Live

Press release   •   Feb 28, 2006 00:01 GMT

With a recent drop in temperatures and snow starting to fall across the country, traffic and travel experts at RAC Live are advising motorists to be prepared for driving in freezing conditions.

With a recent drop in temperatures and snow starting to fall across the country, traffic and travel experts at RAC Live are advising motorists to be prepared for driving in freezing conditions.

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

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

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

  • Plan your journey and where possible use major routes, which may 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 if necessary
  • Take a mobile phone with you and remember to make sure it is fully charged
  • If it's safe and legal to do so, dial 1740* on your mobile for RAC Live traffic reports and weather reports, and tune into your local radio for information on routes
  • Use a windscreen scraper or a de-icer to remove ice from every window on your vehicle
  • Do not use warm water as this may cause the windscreen to crack. Carry a key de-icer with you to clear your lock
  • Use the vehicle's air conditioning to help speed up the demisting of your windscreen
  • Wrap up warm and take a blanket, waterproof clothing and sensible footwear
  • Take some high energy food such as chocolate or carry a thermos flask of hot soup
  • Ensure you have enough fuel for your journey as vehicles use more fuel when driving in winter conditions.

In severe weather conditions it is also advisable to carry a good 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 driving conditions – due to a need to use the demister/wipers/heater/air conditioning and possibly the headlamps - impose a much greater burden on the battery especially on short journeys (under 15 miles) when the engine doesn't have the time to replace the battery power drain. To minimise the drain motorists should switch off non-essential electrical equipment and switch off any equipment once it has fulfilled its duty
  • Check you have enough fuel for your journey. Vehicles use more fuel 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 forget the spare
  • Make sure your screen wash bottle is full and contains the right amount of additive to help maintain a clear screen
  • Check headlights and indicators. Make sure lenses are free from damage and are kept clean to ensure you can see and be seen
  • Check front and rear wiper blades for wear or splitting
  • If you do breakdown, make sure you know where you are and, to help locate you, where possible use the orange coloured SOS phones to call for assistance
  • In the event of a breakdown on the motorway, follow the safety advice given.

-ends-Notes to editors:Media-only travel hotlines (not for publication): for travel news and interviews, journalists can call Tess Richardson in the RAC press office on 020 8917 2980 / 07860 633 656, or the RAC Press Office on 020 8917 2742

About RACWith more than seven million members, RAC is the UK's longest established motoring organisation, providing services to both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists’ needs.

Aviva recently announced its acquisition of RAC. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one-in-seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 14%.

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

Notes to Editors

For all media enquiries, please contact the RAC press team on +44 (0)1454 664 123. The line is manned by an on-call press officer outside office hours. ISDN radio studio facilities are available for interviews Monday to Friday.

About the RAC

First formed in 1897, the RAC has been looking after the needs of its members and championing the interests of drivers for more than 120 years.

Today it has more than eight million members and is one of the UK’s most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistanceinsurancebuying a used carvehicle inspections and checkslegal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution for all motoring needs. The RAC is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

The RAC is the motorist’s champion and campaigns to support the interests of its members and UK drivers at a national level. This includes voicing concerns about the increasing cost of motoring, particularly the price of fuel and the high level of tax levied on it, advancing levels of road safety, and supporting the needs of all drivers, from young to old.

The RAC’s annual Report on Motoring – first published in 1989 – is one of a kind and provides a clear insight into the concerns and issues facing today’s motorists.

For the very latest news on UK fuel prices, check RAC Fuel Watch. It provides a comprehensive guide to the latest UK unleaded petrol and diesel prices – both at the wholesale level and at the pump - and tracks these prices daily to help drivers check if the price they pay to fill up is a fair one.