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Don’t be sleighed by the great festive getaway

This week’s tips, from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) director of standards, Mark Lewis, are sharing advice with drivers about making safe journeys at this time of year. Roads across the UK are expected to be busier than usual; here are Mark’s top tips to ensure your journey home is as stress-free as possible.

* Try and avoid setting off at peak times when many motorists will start their journeys. Don’t forget to check for weather or traffic-related updates so you can allow more time to travel.

* If you’re travelling a long distance bear in mind the weather in one region may not be the same as another – plan for the whole length of your journey and take note of what the weather is like closer to your destination.

* Before you set off make sure your friends and family know where you are going and your expected time of arrival. Try to be realistic as possible so they are not worrying about you if you get a little late, and always ensure you have enough fuel as some garages can close early.

* Make sure you take regular rest breaks, but avoid leaving valuable gifts in the car that are easily visible. Ensure all gifts are secure and sealed away in your car boot.

* If you’re too tired to drive then delay your journey – be wary of driving when you would normally be asleep. If you begin to feel tired on your journey, then take a rest break. A coffee and a 20 minute stop are the bare minimum to help you stay alert.

Mark said: “Careful planning and preparation can ensure your drive is a safe and smooth one. So long as you give yourself extra time at this busy time of year, your journey doesn’t need to be as arduous.

“We all look forward to spending the festive season with loved ones so let’s all do our bit to make it a safe one for the road. From all here at the IAM, here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year.”

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Editor at large, SalfordOnline.com