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Preparing for Christmas Journeys – 5 key steps

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Date Posted: 09-12-2016

The last thing you want is to spend valuable Christmas hours in the freezing cold over a broken-down car, with the kids screaming “are we there yet?”

So we’ve gathered some useful winter driving tips to help you reach your festive location safe and sound.

And as Welcome Break is open throughout Christmas, we want you to spend time with us, in the warm, with happy kids enjoying the festive spirit.

1 Getting your self prepared

Check for motorway incidents – Welcome Break’s Twitter page provides all the latest updates on motorway incidents – follow us @welcomebreak

Check the forecast – know what’s coming throughout your journey.

Get prepared for a breakdown. Ensure you have some breakdown cover.

Always carry a Winter Breakdown Kit:

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At Welcome Break you’ll find a wide range of Winter Driving essentials to help you along your journey.

2 Getting your car prepared

Ensure you can see and you’re seen. Keep your windscreen clean. Remove all dirt, frost and snow from windows, lights and number plates (you’re liable for a fine if the Police stop you).

Ensure you can see front and back. Don’t stack the presents in your rear-view.

Ensure the engine is topped-up with anti-freeze, with a 50-50 mix with water. A cracked engine or frozen radiator can be very expensive.

Get you’re tyres right. A minimum 3mm tread is vital to offer a safe level of grip. Don’t deflate tyres for icy conditions – it’s bad advice and actually dangerous. Look into winter tyres if we get a cold snap.

Keep your fuel tank topped-up. If you get stuck, your engine will be a vital source of warmth.

Check your screen wash. Keep it well topped, as grit will stick to your windscreen.

3 Getting started

Look after your battery. Ensure additional electrics such as heaters are switched off on ignition.

Start sensibly. Use the ignition in short bursts and don’t strain it. It if doesn’t start immediately, wait for 30 seconds between each attempt.

Get the car warmed-up. Take more time before you set-off, to get the engine nice and warm and all windows properly demisted. Avoid leaving the car running unattended.

4 Setting off

Start in Second! When it’s slippery, start-off in second gear to avoid dangerous wheel spinning.

Steady uphill! Use a steady speed uphill and don’t make sudden speed changes.

Easy on those brakes! Use a lower gear downhill and avoid over-use of the brakes.

For automatic gearboxes, check your manual for the best driving settings in poor weather conditions.

Always keep your distance – the ‘two second rule’ is the very minimum.

5 Plan your journeys

Give yourself time. Set-off earlier and take the safest routes, not the quickest.

Use motorways. Statistically they’re safer, with properly prepared and gritted surfaces with traffic moving in the same direction.

Plan stops along the journey. Avoid risking fatigue just to arrive quicker. It’s Christmas, so take your time and stop at your next Welcome Break!

Use the Welcome Break Journey Planner. You can pinpoint our locations along your route and plan your driving intervals between stops. Plan your Christmas Journey here.

We hope some of these tips keep you moving throughout Christmas and we get to see you over the festive period. Welcome Break is open throughout the holiday, including Waitrose on Christmas day (10am–4pm) for those last minute essentials with Starbucks, and our Shell & BP forecourts open 24/7.

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