Forecasters are predicting widespread travel chaos and power cuts. The AA has mobilised extra resources for an increase in demand for roadside assistance and has issued a warning to drivers to take extra care on the roads and to follow the advice of emergency services, especially if asked not to attempt to drive unless it's really necessary to do so.

"Company car drivers are 49% more likely to be involved in an accident that ordinary drivers, even in good weather conditions," says Stuart Thomas, director of Fleet and SME services at the AA. "We urge fleets to question if their vehicles need to be on the roads in the first place during this potentially hazardous time. Does a scheduled meeting need to take place in person, or can business be conducted via Skype or over the phone instead? If your fleet must travel this week, ensure they are adequately prepared to face any potential hazards."

Top safety travel tips from Vince Crane, AA Patrol of the Year, include:

-       Give yourself time: Allow plenty of extra time for your journey, including time to de-ice the car. It may take longer but it also means that you will have full visibility which in bad weather is vital. 

-       Don't be tempted to pour hot water over the screen - if it has a chip, the sudden change in temperature could lead to a crack.  Best way is to use a scraper. And don't leave your car alone with the engine running, that's an invitation to thieves.

-       See and be seen: Make sure the windscreen and windows, as well as headlights and mirrors, are all properly cleared of snow and ice.

-       Push snow from the roof and bonnet too as it will fly off while driving or, if you brake heavily, will slide down your windscreen and block your visibility. Make sure your lights are all working and use them in poor daylight visibility. 

-       Stay topped up: Top up the windscreen wash with a good quality additive to reduce the chance of freezing. Keep at least quarter of a tank of fuel - an accident or closed road up ahead is likely to result in long delays.

-       Take the essentials: Be prepared for your journey to take much longer than usual and pack essentials including warm and waterproof layers and dry, sturdy footwear, high energy refreshments and a flask of hot drink or water, a torch, extra screen wash, any personal medication in case of long delays, a fully-charged mobile (with the AA app pre-loaded) and an atlas or sat-nav in case of diversions.

-       Choose your route: Check your route for accidents or closures before you leave and, if possible, favour roads which have been gritted.

-       Drive smoothly: Drive to the conditions and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front as stopping distances will be significantly greater. Keep your speed down and avoid sharp acceleration, braking or cornering as far as possible. If you are starting on a slippery surface, select a higher gear and gently let in the clutch. Automatic cars often allow a higher starting gear to be selected or have a ‘winter' mode.

-       Keep a grip: Make sure your tyres are properly inflated - contrary to popular belief letting some air out of your tyres does not improve their grip on snow and ice - it has the opposite effect.  If the tyre tread is below 3mm, then get the tyres replaced as soon as possible - worn tyres are lethal on an icy surface.

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