WITH winter just around the corner it is important that both your car and yourself are ready should you be hit by an icy blast.
This is not the time of year to be stuck on an isolated road in the heart of France with little in the way of protection.
The simplest advice is to not travel if you know that bad weather is on the way. Keep an eye on local reports and check out the 24-hour Bison Futé traffic website.
Something you should not do first thing in the morning after a cold night is try and open your electric window, if it’s stuck you will break the motor in the door and a repair will be expensive.
In your car make sure you have a winter travel kit which should consist of warm clothes and boots, food and drink, an ice scraper and de-icer, a torch, battery jump leads and, if you are expecting the worst, a spade.
Should you be driving and the weather turns nasty remember that stopping distances will increase to twice as much in the rain and ten times as much in snow.
Driving in snow needs its own particular methods, the first of which is to pick as high a gear as possible that will help avoid wheel spin.
Drive slowly and the best way to brake without skidding is to get into a lower gear earlier, let your speed go down, and brake gently.
At this time of year in France freezing fog can be a real hazard for drivers so again keep some points in mind.
Use dipped headlights or fog lights if your car is equipped with them, just remember to go back to normal lights if the fog has cleared.
Don’t think you are clear of the fog and accelerate away because very often anther heavy patch is around the corner and you will soon find yourself in the middle of it.
If the worst happens and you break down wrap up well and if your mobile phone works remember the European emergency number is 112.
It is advisable to stay with your car if it is in a safe position as there is more chance of the emergency services finding you, but if you leave your car make sure other drivers can see you and try and tell someone where you are going.
But the wisest piece of advice is if severe weather arrives, don't drive unless your journey is absolutely essential - delay it until the weather improves.
Driving tips in France