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Pre-winter car checks to ensure you're prepared

With Christmas lights starting to decorate our high streets there are a few more reminders that the challenges of winter driving might not be too far away.

As part of its seasonal driving campaign, the Highways Agency suggests now is the time to make sure you have a winter kit ready and consider a pre-winter check or service for your vehicle.

Initial results (first 1,500 completed) from a survey by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) shows a charged mobile phone and the number of a breakdown service as the top items for a winter car journey.  Eighty-five percent of these made sure they had a charged mobile phone with them.

Sensible preparation on the other hand should reduce the risk of ever needing to call out the rescue services from that phone.

Breaking down is never a pleasant experience. It's even worse in cold, wet, icy weather. Remember that on motorways it's important to get out of your vehicle and wait behind the barrier or another safe place away from fast traffic.

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