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Give your car a seasonal makeover

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is warning motorists about winter weather as part of its national campaign, #wheelsinwinter. As more bad weather is expected, the IAM is offering advice to drivers to ensure their cars are prepared for the cold season.

Here are seven essential checks motorists should carry out:

  1. Ensure your lights are fully working; if a bulb is not working you will need to replace it before starting your journey or go to a garage and get it fixed straight away. Keep a spare set handy in the car. If you are caught driving when your lights are not working you could face a fine of up to £1000.
  2. Check your washer bottle is filled with screen wash to remove any debris and grime from the screen; water on its own does not work as well. And make sure your windscreen wiper blades are working properly too, without leaving lines or smearing the screen.
  3. Check the brake fluid reservoir under the car bonnet, and if it is lower than it should be get the car seen by a mechanic urgently. Driving in this way is dangerous.
  4. Check your cars tyre conditions regularly – the legal minimum for car tyre tread is 1.6mm. Use a tread depth gauge to measure them and check the tread surface is not worn out. If you’re driving with tyres below the legal minimum tread depth you can be given a fine of £120. To avoid this you must replace defective tyres immediately.
  5. Anti-freeze should be topped up all year round, so don’t neglect this over the winter. Ensure it is filled at the correct mixture to stop the coolant in your car from freezing. Check you have the concentration of the fluid right for the temperatures you expect.
  6. Make room for a winter driving kit in your car for any unexpected emergencies and breakdowns. Your winter kit should at least include: a blanket, torch, shovel, and a fully charged mobile phone so you can contact your breakdown service provider or any family/friends when your car breaks down.
  7. Make sure you have these phone numbers programmed into your mobile phone. Make sure you have last year’s ice scraper and de-icer at the ready and ensure they are still effective, or get new ones for this year. Frost can strike overnight; don’t wait till it’s too late.
It’s time to do the final preparations for winter. Rain, fog, frost and snow are all typical British weather hazards. A few minutes now could save lots of problems later

Notes to editors:

  1. Peter Rodger is the IAM’s chief examiner.
  2. The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving and motorcycling. The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive. The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 100,000 members in the UK and Ireland. It is best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving and motorcycling courses. Its policy and research division offers advice and expertise on road safety


Media contacts:

IAM Press Office – 020 8996 9777