Is your car ready for a summer road trip?

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Highways England traffic officer Siobhan Wares is used to helping drivers during a crisis.

Now the 47-year-old mother-of-three is using her skills to help motorists heading off on holiday this summer get their vehicles ready for the road in a bid to cut the number of breakdowns.

Almost half of all breakdowns are caused by simple mechanical problems which could be avoided with simple checks.

Nearly a quarter are caused by tyre problems.

Meanwhile, around 22 motorists broke down each day during July and August last year because they had run out of fuel.

Highways England is producing five short instructional videos on how to check tyre pressure, tyre tread, oil and water levels and lights to help prevent needless breakdowns and cut the unnecessary delays they cause.

Siobhan, from West Sussex, a South East-based traffic officer patrolling the M25 and other major routes, appears in each of the videos. She warned breakdowns can lead to more serious incidents.

She said: “We deal with lots of breakdowns, often caused by people running out of fuel or their engine seizing up, because they haven’t carried out the basic checks.

“What you have to think about is if you breakdown you’re not just putting yourself at risk. If you have family with you it’s your passengers as well as other road users too.”

The videos cover:

Checking tyres: Prior to setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit.

Checking engine oil: Use your dipstick to check oil before any long journey, and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual.

Checking water: To ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen.

Checking lights: If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk.

For more detailed information on how to carry out your vehicle checks, visit http://think.direct.gov.uk/carchecks.html