Is your car safe for winter? How to check - and avoid being fined thousands of pounds

Are you winter ready?
Are you winter ready?
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Winter is coming and heavy rain, ice and snow are on the way.

This week we reported how weather experts are forecasting the coldest winter in five years.
And if your car is deemed to be unsafe for winter, you could be hit with a massive fine and three points on your licence.

WINTER READINESS CHECKLIST - 12 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PREPARE

1. CHECK YOUR TYRES

Not only is it dangerous to drive in winter conditions with low levels of tread on your vehicle’s tyres, it’s also illegal.

Check your tyres regularly to avoid a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre found below the legal depth.

The law states the minimum legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. The tread must meet this minimum requirement across its complete circumference.

One quick way to check is by using a 20p piece. If you cannot see the edge of the 20p coin when inserted into your tyre tread, it is likely safe. If you can see it, the tyre is worn and must be replaced immediately.

But the difference in wet braking distance between a tyre worn to 3mm and one worn to 1.6mm can be as much as 44% according to the RAC, so it pays to replace the before they are on the legal borderline.

It always pays to be prepared for winter. There are a few simple steps you can take to prepare yourself, your vehicle and your home or business.

And is there anyone else you can help prepare for winter? Perhaps a neighbour, friend, elderly relative?

2. TOP UP ANTI-FREEZE SCREEN WASH

It is advisable to use a screen wash additive as this helps to keep the windscreen free of dirt and winter road grime caused by road salting and gritting which can cause visibility issues.

There is also the risk of a frozen windscreen which is another reason to ensure you use a proper anti-freeze screen wash. Read more about preparing your car for winter.

3. THINK ABOUT A WINTER KIT FOR YOUR CAR

If you get stuck in your car in winter it could be dangerous, so get a winter car kit ready: ice scraper, de-icer, jump leads, shovel, blanket, sunglasses (for winter glare from the low sun), torch. Get all these things ready before the start of winter and then keep them in the car - you never know when you might need them. For longer trips think about food, water and medicines too. Here's what should be in your winter car kit.

4. CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE COMMUTING PLANS FOR SEVERE WEATHER

It’s worth thinking about how you might get to work in the event of severe weather.

Sometimes roads may be more affected than the rail network, but on other occasions the opposite may be true.

Can you work from home if travel is not advised? Consider your alternative options and discuss with your employer so if the weather does turn you’re already prepared.

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