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Drivers urged to prepare for winter

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A motoring expert has urged drivers to take steps to ensure they are prepared for wintry conditions, which will be increasingly common on roads in the coming weeks.

Simon Elstow, head of training at IAM Drive & Survive, said motorists must keep windscreen wipers in a good condition and ensure the inside of the windscreen is cleaned regularly to provide good visibility.

A proper check of the vehicle, especially the tyres and all the lights, is vital. The legal minimum for tyre tread in the UK is 1.6mm, but if the depth is below 3mm, grip can be impaired in treacherous conditions.

Drivers also need to top up washer fluid and ensure their ice scraper and de-icer are in decent condition, and buy replacements if necessary.

An emergency kit, which includes a coat, high visibility jacket, food and water, a sturdy pair of boots, de-icer, scraper, torch, spade and mobile phone with a well-charged battery, should also be prepared. And appropriate car insurance and breakdown cover should be in place.

Mr Elstow said: "Bad weather can strike quickly, and more severely than you expect, so it's really important to be ready."

© Press Association 2011