A CAR servicing expert has urged drivers across south Cumbria to make sure their vehicle is safe to drive - as forecasters warn a new Beast from the East could hit the UK within weeks.

Freezing temperatures, poor road conditions and low light can make the shortest of journeys tricky during the colder months - with the number of breakdowns and accidents on the county’s roads increasing in bad weather.

Now Dan Evans, manager at Furness Park’s Service and MOT centre in Barrow’s Abbey Road, has released a winter health checklist to help car owners ensure they are properly prepared.

Dan said: “Spending a little bit of time now to make sure your vehicle is in the best shape for the coming months will give you peace of mind, as well keeping you as safe as possible every time you get behind the wheel. The winter has been quite mild so far, but with cold weather, ice and maybe snow on the way, it’s really important your car is fit for the road.

“We’ve produced a simple checklist for drivers to work through that will help eliminate the chance of driving in the dark with a failed bulb or with tyres which are close to or under the legal requirement.

“Nothing is as important as the safety of drivers and other road users, so our checklist will be a useful guide for anyone who is comfortable carrying out the work themselves.

“Alternatively, we’re happy to step in for those who want an expert to give their vehicle a thorough winter once over.”

Last winter, the RAC found just 58 per cent of drivers checked their tyre tread once a month, while only 33 per cent inspected their windscreen wipers at regular intervals.

The organisation saw breakdown call-outs increase by 20 per cent in just one month when temperatures dropped.

Anyone can book a winter health check with the team at Furness Park by calling 01229 820595. The package, which costs £15, will include an RAC Emergency Winter Kit, screen scraper and de-icer for every customer worth up to £25.

Dan’s top 10 tips

1. Check your tyre tread

The minimum tread depth to be legally compliant is 1.6mm. A good depth will give you greater grip in poor conditions.

2. Make sure all your lights are working

All bulbs on your vehicle must be in full working order. They are not only necessary for you to see where you’re going, but to ensure you are visible to other road users and pedestrians.

3. Check your brakes

Stopping distances increase in wet weather or when road conditions are poor, so check your brakes now to stay safe when the temperature plummets.

4. Cold weather kills batteries

There’s nothing worse than finding your car won’t start on a cold morning - just when you need to be somewhere important. Check your battery is in good condition and will get you through the winter.

5. Check your tyre pressure

Tyres that are too firm or too soft will hinder the handling of your car. Make sure yours are inflated in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

6. Wipers

It’s illegal to drive without a clear windscreen, so make sure your wipers are working and in good condition.

7. Top up your washer fluid

Grit on wet roads will quickly leave your windscreen covered in a film of dirt. Make sure you’re topped up now to keep your screen clear and keep checking the level through the winter.

8. Don’t forget antifreeze

Don’t leave yourself stranded in cold weather. Keeping the antifreeze topped up in your car will help protect your engine in freezing temperatures. Furness Park checks antifreeze to -25 degrees celsius.

9. Carry an emergency winter weather pack

Ideally, this should include a high vis vest, foil blanket, wind up torch and emergency shovel so you’re ready for whatever the weather throws at you - even if you’re away from home.

10. Book a winter health check

Let the experts do the work for complete peace of mind. Nothing is more important than staying safe on the roads.