By Paul Donovan
Drivers should take some simple but important safety measures as the cold weather starts to set in, according to a motoring charity.
Advice on how people can prepare their car for the winter has been offered by the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
The group suggests that drivers make sure their windscreen wipers are in good condition, top up their windscreen washer fluid with suitable anti-freeze screenwash and check their tyres are in a good condition to prevent breakdowns or accidents. If a motorist is involved in an accident it could increase their car insurance premiums when they come to renew.
Peter Rodger, IAM chief examiner, said: "Bad weather can strike quickly, and more severely than you expect, so now is the time to give your car a health-check before winter conditions take their toll."
He advises people to make sure windscreen wipers are switched off when they start the ignition, as if they freeze in the "on" position, it could blow the fuse.
Tyres should be checked thoroughly, he said, adding that although the legal minimum for tyre tread in the UK was 1.6mm, for optimum safety, motorists should look for replacements if the depth is below 3mm.
The IAM also advises drivers to check all lights and pack an emergency kit in the boot, including a warm coat, a high visibility jacket, some food and water, a good pair of boots, de-icer and scraper, a torch, a spade and a mobile phone with a well-charged battery.