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Driving Home For Christmas

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2:34pm 24th December 2014

Cornwall braces for the Christmas getaway.

Drivers are being urged to take care on the trip to see family and friends.

Trains are expected to be packed too, with engineering work in some areas.

The IAM’s chief examiner, Peter Rodger is offering winter advice to riders and drivers.

As we plan our journeys home for Christmas, Peter is advising us on driving on the motorway in the dark to ensure our Christmas journeys home are as safe as possible.

He has these top tips:

1. Plan your journey ahead and have at least one break every two hours. If possible, share the driving. Make sure you have enough fuel and don’t be tempted to run with a low tank. Some 17,000 people a year break down on the motorway because they run out of fuel, and most fatalities on a motorway involve a stationary vehicle.

2. Use the air conditioning and heating system to keep the temperature comfortable, the air fresh, and the windows from steaming up. If you are in an unfamiliar car make sure you know how to adjust them before you start a journey.

3. There may be some unlit stretches of motorway. It might sound obvious, but make sure both your headlights are working and are correctly adjusted, and your windows clean inside and out.

4. If you are too tired don’t drive, it’s that simple. Likewise, don’t drink if you are driving later – and if you are travelling into Scotland, remember the lower drink-drive limit.

5. When in traffic, don’t just watch the car in front of you. Try and look further up the queue so you have a better idea of what is going on in plenty of time – it makes the journey less stressful as well as safer.

6. If you break down, pull on to the hard shoulder. Call your emergency breakdown provider for help and wait outside of your car, ideally behind the crash barrier. Switch your hazard lights on.

7. Keep an eye on what the weather is doing so that you can adjust your driving to match any changes it makes – especially if the temperature is dropping. If your car has an outside temperature display on the dashboard, take a periodic look at it, and start to increase your following distance if it gets down towards freezing.

Rodger said, "Planning and ensuring you have good all year round visibility is the key to making your Christmas journey as smooth as possible. You can make your life easier by not rushing or being pressured by others to go faster than you are comfortable with.

"Drive within your limits and those of your car, and it is a sure recipe to a happy and stress-free yule tide journey. And a Merry Christmas from the IAM, wherever your journey takes you."

2:34pm 24th December 2014

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