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What to do now to prepare for the winter ahead
Two out of the last three winters have seen widespread snow and ice for weeks on end with temperatures regularly falling below -10C.
You're more likely to break down in a bad winter – the AA had its busiest day ever on Monday 4 January 2010 and then again, less than 12 months later, on Monday 20 December 2010 when AA patrols handled more than 28,000 breakdowns.
There's more risk of delays too but not necessarily in the way you'd expect. If vehicles ahead lose control – a jack-knifed lorry for example – you won't be able to get through no matter how well equipped your car is with winter tyres or chains. You could face a wait of several hours until the blockage and other traffic ahead has been cleared.
Here's what you need to do this winter to reduce the risk of a breakdown and make sure that you are equipped to deal with the conditions.
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. As well as the things you should be carrying on every journey regardless of the weather, you should make up a winter emergency kit to keep in the boot – hopefully you won’t need it but you will be very glad it's there if you do.
AA patrol Paul Harrison shows how to make sure your car's ready for winter
(updated 23 October 2012)