Become a better driver over Twixtmas

The AA has come up with some simple tips of how we can become a safer, greener and friendlier driver

The AA has come up with some simple tips of how we can become a safer, greener and friendlier drivers. - Credit: Archant

Motorists are being encouraged by the AA to become better drivers by taking advantage of the five days of the Twixtmas break – between the Christmas and New Year holidays.

By following its five tips for each day of the five-day programme the AA can help you become a safer, greener, friendlier driver, while taking care of one of your 'best friends' – your car, to enjoy the open road even more in the year ahead.

The five-day better driver programme supports the wider non-commercial Twixtmas campaign which is launching a 'University of Twixtmas' – encouraging everyone to do and learn five new things to make the world a better place. Further details can be found at www.twixtmas.com

Be a better driver by following these five tips for each day of Twixtmas.

Day 1: Do something selfish – drive safer.


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Adopt safer driving – five tips from the AA for you and your family this winter during snow and ice (if we have any):

Stay in a higher gear to aid traction. Select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheelspin.

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Keep your speed down – try to maintain a constant speed. Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving.

When driving downhill, reduce your speed before the hill, use a low gear and try to avoid using the brakes.

Wear comfortable, dry shoes – cumbersome, snow-covered boots will slip on the pedals.

Leave as much room as possible between you and the car in front – stopping distances can be up to 10 times longer in ice and snow.

Day 2: Do something unselfish – drive friendlier.

Make it your New Year's resolution to treat vulnerable road-users better. Five tips from the AA Driving School for driving in a way that makes the roads safer for everyone:

Make sure you leave vulnerable road-users plenty of room when overtaking. Cyclists sometimes have to move out to avoid potholes, for example, so ensure there is enough room (about two metres) for any sudden movements they make.

Think once, think twice, think bike. Before you manoeuvre make sure you double check your mirrors for motorbikes and cyclists.

Slow down for horses. Leave them plenty of room when you overtake and don't sound your horn at them – they are animals and can react unpredictably.

Allow any cyclist ahead of you to pass a junction rather than overtake them and then turn sharply left across their front wheel.

Hold back if you're uncertain as to the intention of another road-user – including cyclists – rather than risk a wrong assumption.

Day 3: Do something for a friend – take better care of your 'friend', your car.

Five checks from AA patrol of the year include the oil, water, tyres to ensure they are in good order.

Tyres – check tyre tread, condition and pressures at least every two weeks. Don't forget to check the spare as well.

Engine oil – check the dipstick at least every fortnight and before any long journey.

Water – check the coolant level regularly and top up as necessary – but only when the engine is cold.

Screenwash – check and regularly top up with a good screenwash additive. It's a legal requirement that the system works.

Lights – check and clean all lights weekly, not forgetting fog and reversing lights, full-beam headlights and indicators.

Day 4: Do something for the planet – drive greener.

Five tips from the AA Charitable Trust to drive more environmentally friendly.

Change up earlier. Change gear as soon as possible without laboring the engine – try changing up at about 2,000rpm in a diesel car or about 2,500 rpm in a petrol car.

Stick to the speed limit. According to the Department for Transport, driving at 70mph uses up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph.

Don't be idle. If you do get caught in a queue, turn the engine off if it looks like you could be waiting for more than three minutes.

Streamline. Roof racks/boxes create extra wind resistance and increase fuel consumption. If you don't need it take it off. If you do, pack carefully to reduce the extra drag.

Easy does it. Drive smoothly, accelerate gently and read the road ahead to avoid unnecessary braking.

Day 5: Do something for the future – do more interesting things with your car, and your life.

Check out AA Routeplanner online to come up with an 'alternative' route to take into account the quality of the journey rather than the speed.

Edmund King, AA president, said: 'By following these five tips for each day of the Twixtmas break you can be a better driver, help other people and our planet, and also make for a more interesting year ahead.'

The 'University of Twixtmas' is a new initiative launched by the Twixtmas campign which aims to encourage everyone to do five socially good things during the five days of Twixtmas between Christmas and New Year holidays. Can you create five easy things to do to help your cause when, in a time-poor age, people have lots of free time? Visit www.twixtmas.com

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