Are you ready for the road?

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LOTS of us are planning long-distance drives to visit friends and family over Christmas and New Year.

But with freezing conditions and low visibility at this time of the year it is more important than ever to make sure your car is motorway ready.

Online insurers Quotemehappy say 21 per cent of motorists don’t know how to use fog lights and a quarter (25 per cent) are not sure how to check tyre pressure.

The insurers have put together a list of ten simple ways to make sure you are ready for the road this winter

1. Time is key

Give yourself a little extra time to ensure your vehicle is road ready. Allow at least ten minutes to clear ice and snow from your glass. Don’t set off until you have clear visibility.

2. Light the way

As the nights draw in it is vital your headlights, tail lights and fog lights are not obscured by dirt or snow. Clean them regularly.

3. Be slick with the oil

Maintaining correct engine oil levels is key to a healthy engine. With most cars, you need to use your dipstick to check that the oil mark is between maximum and minimum levels, but some newer vehicles will display engine oil levels on the dashboard screen. Remember to check frequently.

4. Stay charged

Drained batteries are common at this time of year – to avoid a breakdown, don’t over-use heating, lights or radio on for too long when the engine is off. Also, don’t leave your vehicle inactive for a long period in cold weather – this increases the chance of battery failure.

5 Keep up the pressure

The correct tyre pressure, as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer, is very important during cold and wintry weather conditions. Be sure to pay a visit to a local service station and inflate/deflate as required.

6Clean your screen

As well as clearing your screen before starting a journey, be sure to top up windscreen wash. At this time of year snowy, wet roads can quickly turn spotless screens dirty.

7. Winning wipers

Efficient windscreen wipers are essential to combat wintry rain and snow fall. Check your wiper blades regularly and, if you see signs of wear and tear, be sure to replace them quickly.

8 Don’t tyre your tread

Tyre tread depth is important, especially during winter, and should be a minimum of 1.6mm in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tyre width, and throughout the whole of the circumference of the tyre. If depth is less than three millimetres you will need to consider new tyres.

9. Be prepared

You should always make sure that your vehicle is stocked with supplies in case of an emergency. Having everyday items such as a blanket, torch, de-icer, a cloth and a warm coat can see you through.

10. Call on an expert

If you have any doubts or are worried something might go wrong, visit a qualified mechanic. Getting assurance from someone in the know will give you confidence on the roads this winter.