With Britain bracing itself for potential chaos brought on by the “weather bomb”, one of the nation’s favourite building societies is advising people how to stay safe and be prepared this Christmas. A few simple preparations can help save a great deal of time and trouble.

Nationwide’s winter weather tips:

Give your car a winter weather check
– avoid breaking down by keeping your car maintained. Make sure your tyres have enough tread; check oil, anti-freeze and screen-wash levels and keep fuel topped up. Many garages offer a winter health check for a small fee which will ensure your car is ready for the cold snap.

Make sure you have breakdown cover
– flat tyres, minor accidents caused by icy or snowy weather conditions and a flat battery are just a few of the common reasons people need breakdown assistance over the winter months. Save a great deal of time, money and distress by having breakdown cover in place beforehand.

Keep emergency items in your car
– check the weather report before you leave the house and only travel if the journey is essential. If your journey is necessary, keep emergency items in your vehicle such as a blanket, extra clothes, a torch, water, non-perishable food and a shovel, which could come in handy if stuck in snow.

Carry emergency telephone numbers
– avoid being stranded in freezing weather conditions by having your insurance provider’s telephone number to hand. Make sure your mobile phone is charged and keep an in-car phone charger for emergencies. Also, tell family and friends where you are going before setting off on a journey.

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Protect your home
– prevent water damage by protecting your pipes. Keeping your boiler serviced not only keeps you warm but will prevent pipes freezing and if you are going away, consider asking a friend or relative to check your home. This means if you do suffer a burst pipe, it will be detected as soon as possible.

Martyn Dyson, Nationwide’s Head of General Insurance, said,

“Winter weather brings with it many challenges, particularly with ice and snow, and many of us are ill prepared. These conditions can be hazardous and it’s important to plan ahead to not only reduce the financial impact and inconvenience, but to also stay safe. A few simple steps can make a big difference if the worst were to happen, for example taking the time to understand what your home and car insurance covers you for can prevent a great deal of anxiety and expense.”