TOP 10 WINTER DRIVING TIPS...

Breakdowns are more common in the winter and road conditions can be really challenging, especially when snow and ice strike, but that isn't all. Staying safe on the roads during the winter months is as much about careful planning as it is about careful driving:

Here's our advice on how to stay safe this winter..

1. Get a service: Extreme driving conditions may amplify any problems that your vehicle may have, ensure that your car is fully serviced before the cold sets in.

2. Leave more space: As the highway code states, drivers need to keep well back from the road user in front as stopping distances can be ten times greater than on dry roads to ensure that you have enough time to brake safely.

3. Check your tyre tread: A deep tread will help prevent skidding in both wet and icy conditions. Ideally, your tread should be at least 3mm. Anything less than 1.6mm is illegal and can result in 3 penalty points and a fine of up to £2,500 for each tyre.

4. Drive more slowly: At any time of the year, the best way to avoid accidents is to anticipate the road ahead. During the winter, this involves driving slowly, steadily and smoothly. When approaching a junction ahead, ensure that you cut your speed and select a lower gear to avoid any sudden braking. If you feel as though the car is beginning to slide on ice, take your foot off of the accelerator and gently steer in the direction of the skid.

5. Check your tyre pressure: Ensure that tyres are inflated to the recommended PSI.

6. Plan your route: If the weather is bad, plan your route to avoid minor roads and instead stick to major roads, which are more likely to have been gritted. You can find reliable weather forecasts at www.metoffice.gov.uk.

7. Check your antifreeze: Make sure that your washer fluid reservoir is topped-up with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze. Don't confuse windscreen washer antifreeze with engine antifreeze; they're entirely different products and the latter is likely to eat-away at your paintwork. Most modern cars use 'long life' antifreeze in their engines, but it's worth double checking with your dealer.

8. Pack practically: An ice scraper and a can of de-icer are winter essentials, but a few extras thrown into your boot could make a roadside breakdown much more bearable. Consider the following: warm clothing, boots and blanket, a high visibility vest and a warning triangle, a map and a first aid kit. And ensure that your mobile phone fully charged in case of an emergency.

9. Check your wipers: Windscreen wipers have a hard job dealing with everything that the British weather throws at them. New wiper blades are cheap to buy and easy to replace.

10. Leave more time: If you are driving slower than normal (and everyone else is driving more slowly), your journey will obviously take more time. Set-off earlier so that you are not in a rush and give yourself extra time to make sure that all the windows are de-iced and de-misted.

We also offer a free tyre safety check to help put your mind at rest! Book FREE Tyre Check