The Highways Agency is calling on motorists to check their cars over now before wintry weather conditions set in.
The Agency says it believes that 45 per cent of drivers don’t bother to give their vehicles a check-over before winter arrives.
It also adds that 29 per cent of drivers don’t take any of the items in its suggested emergency kit, while half don’t even pack de-icer.
“The Highways Agency is well-prepared for ice and snow,” says Simon Sheldon-Wilson, the Agency’s Traffic Management Director.
“Using detailed weather forecasts, we treat the road network before road temperatures fall below freezing – often at night in preparation for peak traffic periods.
“But that doesn’t mean people should drive as they normally would – they still need to take care, as they would during any kind of adverse weather, and plan ahead.”
The Agency recommends that drivers check their electrics, tyres, and fuel and fluid levels before setting out, and take along an emergency kit consisting of an ice scraper, de-icer, warm clothes, blankets, boots, a torch, a first-aid kit, jump leads, a spade, a road atlas, and sunglasses for the winter glare.
It also suggests that drivers check weather and travel conditions before every journey, and bear in mind that even roads that have been treated with salt can still be icy, especially on bends or beneath overhanging trees.
Drivers are also advised to consider whether their journey is essential or whether they might be able to travel at a different time if the weather is particularly severe.
The RAC adds that checking their vehicle over in advance could help prevent drivers from becoming stranded when their car breaks down.
“Everything motorists can do to save themselves mechanical problems in the cold is good news and may help to avoid a repeat of January this year when RAC patrols dealt with more than 100,000 breakdowns in just 11 days,” says RAC spokesperson Simon Williams.
“Top of the list of the most avoidable winter breakdowns is a frozen engine,” he adds. “During freezing weather we regularly see over 1,650 breakdowns a month caused by a lack of anti-freeze.
“These could easily be avoided by topping up the cooling system with correct anti-freeze mix, while a further 530 breakdowns a month could be prevented if drivers took the necessary steps to check, tighten and apply anti-corrosion jelly to their battery connections.”