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Severe winter weather forecast

With heavy snow forecast across the UK over the next few days, travellers who are planning to drive to the airport should heed the advice being issued by the Highways Agency and major automobile associations.

When driving to the airport in cold weather, make some general checks on your car before setting off. Ensure your oil, water and anti-freeze are topped up and inspect your tyres, checking the pressure and tread depth. Make sure you've got enough fuel in the tank for your journey to the airport and home again.

The Highways Agency advises drivers to adapt their driving in bad weather conditions, including slowing down on corners where there is a greater risk of losing control.

As battery-related breakdowns peak in winter, has some timely advice to keep travellers' cars on the move once they return from holiday.

According to the RAC, batteries most commonly go flat when a vehicle has been stationary for some time, particularly in low temperatures. So if you're going on holiday and leaving your vehicle you'll want to make sure it's in tip top condition before you depart.

To avoid any unfortunate accidents, it's best to read through your owner's handbook before carrying out any car maintenance. Check your battery electrolyte level if the unit is not sealed and if necessary top it up with distilled water. Also make sure that the battery connections are tight and free from corrosion. Remember to take care as battery acid is highly corrosive. Use a car battery charger to check the condition of your battery. In general, a car battery should be replaced every three years.

The alternator belt should also be checked. Diesel cars use glow plugs to help start the engine so to save wear on your battery, replace glow plugs at the first signs of failure.

Invest in some heavy duty jump leads and ensure you follow the instructions carefully, especially if the car has electronic modules to control the ignition.

If you're leaving your car in an airport car park, the most important thing to remember is to turn everything else off before turning off the engine. That means lights; wipers; heater or air conditioning; heated seats and windows; and entertainment systems. When you're standing in a chilly airport car park after two weeks in the sun, the last thing you want to find is a dead car battery.

If your car won't start, make sure all the electrics are turned off and then leave it standing for 20 minutes before trying to restart. This is the minimum time needed for the battery to regain enough power to start the engine.

If you need advice on how to re-start you car, the Autotrader and RAC websites contain detailed information on jump-starting and driving in winter. Most airport car parks will help you to jump-start your car if necessary.

Remember to check traffic information for your route before setting off. At we want to help keep you on the road and out of the cold this winter.

Don't let the bad weather ruin your trip this winter. Enjoy a hassle-free start to your holiday by signing up for the Holiday Extras Traffic Assistant, regular text traffic updates direct to your phone from just £1.00 when you pre-book your airport parking with us.

Written by: Maxine Clarke, December 17, 2009

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