Winter is coming

Snow and ice caused more than 5,000 accidents in 2014 – with bad weather on the way, drivers have been advised to follow five top tips for winter driving.

The UK averages less than 24 snow days each year, but the number of accidents during bad weather highlights the need to be extra cautious.

Five top tips:

Plan ahead: Avoid travelling in extreme weather, but if you must travel check websites for weather warnings. Many councils will post road gritting updates on their websites. Main roads will gritted first so stick to A-roads where possible. The Highways Agency website will report the conditions of these routes.

Adjust your driving: Drive slower and increase stopping distances in heavy rain, ice and fog. Minimise distractions such as hands-free calls or loud music to maintain full concentration.

Prepare your vehicle: Insure tyres have a minimum of 2mm tread depth and are inflated correctly. Also, ensure your windscreen is fully cleared of condensation and that snow is cleared your car roof.

Prepare yourself: It is sensible to pack a few key items in your vehicle during the colder months, such as a jumper, torch and bottle of water in case you get stuck on the road.

The worst case scenario: If you break down on a motorway, don’t stay in your vehicle. Remember that motorway location markers can be useful reference points when calling recovery services.