Christmas is just around the corner and while that means a well-earned break from work, it also spells the start of busy roads and potentially bad weather.
Experts have crunched the numbers and believe almost 18 million journeys will be made on December 23 and 24, making these the busiest days on the roads over the Christmas period.
On top of this, the weather looks to be getting colder, with sub-zero temperatures expected in the days before Christmas.
So if you’re planning to head out over the holidays, here’s how to make sure you and your car are safe for the trip.
Check your battery works
The last thing you want when you’re heading out for Christmas dinner is to find your car won’t start. Batteries tend to struggle more when it’s cold, so if yours is on the way out then winter is when it’s most likely to fail.
If you notice your car labouring to start in cold weather you can get the battery checked at a garage or simply buy a new one.
Pack a bag of essentials
With so many cars on the road and bad weather conditions, the chances of becoming stranded increase. Road closures due to crashes or weather could mean you’re stuck in the car for hours on end.
With this in mind, pack water and some snacks as well as extra clothing to keep you warm. You could also pack a small shovel just in case you get stuck in the snow, while towels can be placed under the tyres to find grip.
Check your fuel
It might sound basic, but make sure you have enough fuel to get to your destination with plenty extra just in case. With heavy traffic you could find yourself stuck for a while and you don’t want to be stressing about fuel running out.
You could also find yourself taking a detour because of the weather or the traffic, so the distance you travel could be a lot further than originally planned.
Check your fluids
This is a simple check that you should be doing regularly anyway, but it’s particularly important in winter. For example, windscreen washer fluid is hugely helpful to clear grit and dirt from your windscreen when roads are filthy.
Also check your oil by pulling out the dipstick in the engine bay, wiping it clean, then dipping it back in to see where your oil level is. If it needs topping up, check the manual for the correct type.
Check your tyres
Tyres are arguably the most important aspect of car maintenance because they’re the only part that’s in direct contact with the road. Grip is lower in cold and wet conditions, so quality tyres are even more important.
You can check the tread depth by using a 20p coin – if you can see the band around the edge then they need changing. Also, find out the manufacturer’s recommended pressures and make sure they’re correct.