With winter fast approaching, the weather is becoming increasingly cold and unpredictable. What can start out as a mild winter’s morning can quickly turn into a full blown snowstorm or flash flood. It’s therefore vital that, as a driver, you know how to handle yourself on the road in such conditions.According to the motoring experts, it’s essential to ensure your vehicle is fully fit for the road. This means carrying out checks to establish whether or not your car can handle extreme weather conditions. For example, make sure your tyres are in good condition and properly inflated, as bald or patchy ones will not be able to grip the road properly.It’s also important to check all your lights are working, the battery is fully charged and the windscreen wipers are functional. Additionally, you should make certain your water, oil and washer fluid levels are topped up, as well as putting anti-freeze in the engine.If you do become stranded on the road, it’s also wise to have the right equipment to hand. Consequently, before you set off pack things like a torch, spade, first aid kit and water, as well as some warm clothes.There are many types of extreme weather conditions you can face on the road, and in this respect it’s wise to be aware of how to react to each. For instance, when driving in heavy rain, be aware that the road will become very slippery. Accordingly, your tyres will have less grip, so keep your speed down and increase your stopping distances.Snow and ice are equally hazardous. According to research up to 23 percent of younger drivers, aged 18-24, have never driven in snow and so don’t know what to expect. As a result, it pays to not only concentrate on your own driving, but to also be aware of others on the road.Driving in a higher gear when it’s snowing or icy will give you more control over your car. It’s crucial that you keep your speed down however, since black ice can form almost instantaneously and is notoriously hard to see. Bends and corners are the worst areas affected, because they are often in shadow.It’s unfortunate that, cautious as you may be, accidents can – and often will – happen in winter. Even if you’ve taken every precaution, another driver could easily be distracted and collide with you. Unpredictable weather also means you can be taken by surprise and will simply not react quickly enough.Therefore, it’s fundamental to have some form of car breakdown insurance. There are many different levels of cover to choose from and, dependent on your needs, you can receive such benefits as having your car fixed at the roadside, and recovery of the car to a garage or your home, to obtaining a courtesy car if yours goes out of action.So, if you’re driving in the winter, make sure you, and your vehicle, are fully prepared. Taking a few extra minutes to ensure all is in working order could save your life!