Snow threatens to disrupt Christmas travel plans

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging motorists to take extra care, with plunging temperatures and heavy snow predicted for many parts of the country over the coming Christmas weekend.

Some areas are predicted to experience more than 30cm of snow from the evening of Christmas Day and into Boxing Day.

From 27 December heavy snow is expected across most of western England, the north west, Wales and southern Scotland.

Road journeys are more difficult and treacherous when there is a fall of snow.

GEM is encouraging drivers to make good use of some simple safety tips to reduce the chance of risk, delay and difficulty – and to avoid putting additional strain on the emergency services and breakdown providers who are likely to be at full stretch in winter weather.

Snow driving tips

Don’t drive if you don’t really need to. The easiest way to avoid trouble from winter conditions is to postpone your journey.

If you do have to travel, ensure your car is properly equipped for the likely conditions. That’s because if you do experience a breakdown, you will most likely have to wait longer until help arrives.

So get a winter check-up completed on your car – or at the very least ensure the battery is in the best possible shape.

Listen for weather updates, and plan your travel accordingly.

Prepare a set of essential items to take with you, including a shovel, fully charged mobile phone, torch, ice scraper, food, water, jump leads, first aid kit, warm clothes and a supply of sand or gravel to assist with grip if your wheels are spinning.

In winter conditions, keep your speeds down, leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front, give room to snowploughs and gritter trucks, and be ready for sudden, rapid deteriorations in conditions.

Remember that driving in conditions like this is hard work. You are likely to become tired much more quickly than in less challenging conditions. So ensure you build in breaks on your journeys.

A GEM spokesperson said: “This could prove to be a particularly challenging Christmas and New Year, with severe weather threatening to make travel extremely difficult.

“We urge families who are planning journeys to have a plan B in place and be ready to postpone a journey if conditions require.

“In that way, you’re avoiding a lot of potential trouble for yourself, and ensuring you won’t be putting additional strain on emergency and recovery crews, who are sure to be at full stretch in the coming days.

“Ensuring that you and your car are properly prepared for winter can make a big difference towards keeping you safe on the roads.”

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