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Autumn Driving with A1 Clutches

Autumn Driving with A1 Clutches

The weather is changing as we officially leave summer behind and head into autumn. For many, this third season of the year is one of the most beautiful times in our calendar with leaves tumbling from the trees, their colours vibrant rusts, reds and gold. There is a smell of bonfires as we prepare our gardens for the months ahead and sunsets are lower and glow brightly to reflect the darkening days.

But the altering weather can present challenging conditions for drivers and here at A1 Clutches we want our drivers to travel safely. Follow our guidelines below to help you have a smooth ride into Autumn.

Heavy Rain

Autumn can bring heavy rain and by keeping your speed down you will find that you keep better control of your vehicle in difficult conditions. Use dipped headlights but avoid turning your rear fog lights on unless absolutely necessary, as this can blind drivers behind you. Don’t forget to check your brakes too.

Lights

It gets darker earlier at this time of year, so check that your lights are turned on. Remember that this is a legal requirement, thirty minutes after sunset, so don’t get caught out.

WindscreenWipers

Change those wipers if they are a couple of years old. You need good visibility as the nights get darker.

Windscreen

 Keep your screen clean. Use a good quality screen wash and at this time of year, add an additive to prevent freezing.

Antifreeze

This prevents corrosion in the engine all year round so make sure that you check the coolant reservoir in your vehicle. If you are in any doubt at all, get your garage to test this for you.

Sunglasses

Don’t think you need them in the car in autumn? Think again. The sun is low at this time of year and can be hazardous for drivers. Make sure you have your shades. If you are dazzled, slow down.

Tyres

It goes without saying that you need to have the legal limit tyre tread which is 1.6mm. As we head into the colder months the recommended minimum is 3.0mm

Battery

Is your battery over four years old? Consider changing it and thus prevent it failing in the colder months. You don’t want to be stranded.

Winds

The wind can whip up suddenly in autumn and high-sided vehicles and caravans are in danger of being blown over. Keep a safe distance away from them and lower your speed. Remember that the faster you drive, the more chance of drifting across the road in a gust of heavy wind.

Debris

Autumnal weather can blow trees and debris onto our roads and leaves can be hazardous. If the weather is bad, think ahead to what might be around the next corner. Anticipate what lies ahead.

Breakdown

If you are unfortunate and breakdown in the rain, don’t open your bonnet. Your vehicle’s electrical don’t like getting wet and waterlogged. Wait for roadside recovery.

Pedestrians

Yes, we know, driving through a puddle can be fun, but not if you’re a cyclist or pedestrian who has just got soaked by your discourteousness. Be nice.

Wherever you drive to this autumn, everyone at A1 Clutches wishes you a safe and happy journey.

Back to School

Summer has come to a close and as parents and guardians get ready for a new school term many will be bracing themselves for the inevitable school run that is made in the car every weekday, to get children to and from school. Some people will dread this journey which may involve facing rush hour traffic with a car packed with children, but it is an unavoidable part of the school calendar.

Taking a child to school in a car is the second most popular mode of transport, after walking, according to the Department of Transport’s National Travel Survey. To help child-chauffeurs keep a cool head, enabling them to enjoy a stress-free journey, we have compiled a few tips below that may come in useful and allow car drivers and pedestrians to travel safely on the school run.

• If you’re driving near a school, make sure that you are aware of the speed limits. The speed limit is there for a very good reason.

• Look out for the school crossing patrol who will safely guide pedestrians across the road during the beginning and end of a school day. Slow down and give them plenty of space and time.

• School buses make frequent stops, so if you are behind one be extra vigilant of young people getting on and off. Slow down and be patient.

• Many children ride their bike to school. Children move fast and don’t always pay attention so give the young cyclist plenty of room and be prepared to stop suddenly. Leave at least three feet between your car and the cyclist when passing. Don’t forget to check all your mirrors when opening your door.

• Play an audio book in the car whilst on the school run and entertain the children and driver. If your kids use phones or tablets, they will be looking down, which in a car, can cause travel sickness. An audio book is a great solution.

• If there is a breakfast club at your child’s school, it might be useful to take advantage of this and drop the youngsters off early which will enable the driver to miss the heavy rush hour traffic.

• Be a role model for the occupants of the car. If you drive well, there’s a fair chance they will drive well in future. Aggressive driving is a definite ‘No’. Take your time, stick to the rules of the road and don’t get distracted.

• Can you share the driving with other guardians or parents? Car sharing is a great way of reducing the number of vehicles around the school and frees up extra time for the drivers.

• Remember that children are unpredictable and can be preoccupied when going to or from school. Drive slowly and carefully.

• Keep your vehicle in tip-top condition. Travel safely in a roadworthy car. A1 Clutches are the leading clutch and gearbox specialists in the Midlands. We operate from multiple sites and look forward to assisting you. Speak to our friendly staff or visit today for a most competitive quote.

We wish everyone a happy and safe new school year, from all the staff at A1 Clutches.

ARE YOU SET FOR SUMMER?

Here’s a useful checklist for drivers setting out on sunny days

Summer is here in the UK and with our schools all out for the holidays, many of us are taking to the roads to enjoy some sunny leisure time. If you’re driving in the hot weather, make sure that you are prepared for your road trip to ensure safe and happy travelling. Here are some useful points to consider before setting out:

Check your fluid levels

In cold weather, motorists are used to checking the fluid level on their vehicle but don’t forget that in summer, when temperatures soar, overheating can be a problem, especially when stuck in lengthy traffic jams. Monitor your temperature gage and top up your coolant and oil levels as and when required. Don’t forget to top up the fluid level of your driver and passengers too! Keep plenty of water handy and drink frequently to avoid dehydration during traffic delays.

Plan your route

Whether you favour a good old-fashioned map book and a passenger giving directions, or a state-of-the-art satellite navigation system, plan ahead. Don’t be distracted and make changes to your sat nav whilst driving. Keep your eyes on the road. Mobile apps can be downloaded to your phone or tablet and make great route planners too. If your navigation system gives you an instruction that is likely to endanger other road users, ignore it.

Beach safety

If you’re heading to the beach it is a good idea to think about how you will keep your possessions safe while you’re enjoying some leisurely walks and swims. Lost car keys on a busy, sandy beach are no fun to find. If you do go for a swim, don’t put your car key fob in your pocket, a wet key fob will not operate and it could be a long walk home.

Pets

Our pets are part of our family and we want them to enjoy the summer days in comfort. If you take your dog on a journey with you, remember that you must never leave them alone in the car on a warm day. Even with the windows open, it is a dangerous place for a dog to be. Your car can become as hot as an oven very quickly and when its 22 degrees outside it can reach 47 degrees in the car. When you stop for your refreshment break, make sure you not only exercise your dog but have lots of water for them too.

Tyres

You’re going to have a car laden with luggage and with your family on board too, remember to check those tyre pressures. Follow the manufacturer’s guide and have the correct pressure in each tyre and look carefully at the tyre tread. Is it legal? Are there any cuts or bubbles? With a long journey ahead, you need to be sure that your tyres are safe and road-worthy.

Vision

The glare from the sun can cause problems when driving. Statistically, accidents that are sun-glare related are higher at sunrise or sunset, but the sun can be strong at any time of day. Always have a pair of good quality sunglasses in your car. Can you see clearly through the windscreen? Clean the exterior and interior screen before you set off and check for cracks or chips to the surface. Replace the screen if you need to.

Service your vehicle

With many miles to travel, your car needs to be in the best possible condition. Don’t forget to have the vehicle serviced regularly by a specialist garage to ensure safe and happy driving. A1 Clutches are always delighted to assist our customers. Do give us a call on 0121 522 2094 to chat to our staff about your vehicle and get a quote. We operate from multiple sites and specialise in all makes and models of cars.

From everyone at A1 Clutches we wish you safe and happy holidays!

A1 CLUTCHES WIN ‘AUTO REPAIR SHOP OF THE YEAR’ AWARD


Summer is upon us and here at A1 Clutches we are not only enjoying some lovely sunny days, but we are also celebrating the great news that our company has been made the recipient of a very special award.

 

Amrik Singh

             Amrik Singh

 

CEO and founder of A1 Clutches, Amrik Singh, says that he is delighted to receive the award of Auto Repair Shop of the Year, in this year’s Birmingham Prestige Awards 2019 – Corporate LiveWire. The award is in recognition of a smaller independent business that is extremely successful on a local level and provides outstanding service.

 

After leaving school at the age of fifteen, Amrik began his working life when he trained as a mechanic at a local clutch centre and always had a dream of owning his own business. He worked hard and when he was only eighteen, an opportunity to set up on his own, from a premise in Tipton, in the Black Country, turned his dream into reality. The high quality of work and competitive prices that A1 Clutches consistently produced enabled the business to rapidly grow and today, the privately-owned company operates from four state-of-the-art sites across the Midlands at Tipton, Birmingham, Cannock and Derby. It boasts a multi-million-pound turnover.

A1 Clutches Courtesy Car

                                                                                A1 Clutches – a family affair

A1 Clutches will soon celebrate their 30thanniversary but it is still very much a family affair. Employing more than forty people, Amrik is proud of the fact that many of his staff have been with him in excess of twenty years. He says, ‘It is a great honour to win this award on behalf of myself, my family and everyone at A1 Clutches. We strive hard to offer our customers an unbeatable service and will endeavour to continue to lead the way in our industry.’
As the leading clutch and dual mass flywheel specialists in the Midlands, A1 Clutches are proud of their highly skilled technicians, who are continually trained in the latest procedures and practices. Services include a free, no obligation check on your clutch while you wait and also a reliable collection and delivery service. Whilst your vehicle is being repaired, a free courtesy car is provided, subject to availability,
A1 Clutches’ high standards are also reflected by personal customer reviews on the industry recognised, independent review site, TRUST PILOT. The business is consistently rated as a five-star company for excellent service. Call into any of their branches during opening hours or get in touch by calling: 0121 522 2094.
From all of us at A1 Clutches, we hope that you too are celebrating something special but if not, enjoy the sunshine and have a wonderful summer.

Happy Easter from Everyone at A1 Clutches

The first holiday of the year often coincides with spring-like weather and this Easter Bank Holiday weekend, the Met Office is forecasting dry sunny weather throughout. The AA Roadwatch estimates that 18 million motorists will take to the roads over the Easter weekend. Clearly, it’s not the best time to be on the road with heavy traffic and possible delays, but savvy drivers will know how to ensure that the trip is a pleasant way to start and end their holiday.

Easter Family Pic

Thorough planning is the best way to ensure that your trip is stress-free and here at A1 Clutches we have some tips that you may find useful:

• Know where you are going and plan your route carefully.

• Take snacks and drinks for the journey and keep everyone well-hydrated.

• The AA Patrol estimates that they will attend close to 80,000 breakdowns over the holiday – check that your break-down cover is up to date.

• With kids onboard, make sure that they have plenty to keep them occupied, from games to books and audio recordings and maybe that old-fashioned basic of interacting with a game of, ‘I SPY’ (excluding the driver!)

• Pack carefully and ensure that your bags and cases are secure. Loose items flapping, or rattling are very distracting and can be dangerous.

• Check your tyre pressure – you may be carrying more weight in the vehicle – this also applies to being familiar with load-carrying and towing capabilities.

• A thorough check of your tyres is advisable: check for damage, the depth of the tyre tread and the correct pressure – including the spare tyre of your vehicle or trailer. Remember, over-inflation is as bad as under-inflation.

• Motorists should check that their cooling fans are in good working order before setting out on the first long journey of the year. Corrosion from salt and dirt from surface spray during the winter months can lead to engine overheating.

• Make sure you are alert and have had a good sleep before setting out. Fatigue affects your driving ability and can seriously impair a driver so make sure that you are fully rested and take regular breaks.

• Have your seat in a comfortable position with your back properly supported and the rear-view mirror adjusted accordingly.

• Check the rubber on your windscreen wipers as they may have been damaged during the winter freeze.

• Check oil and water levels before setting out and don’t forget your vehicle’s battery.

With Easter falling late this year, routes heading out of major towns and cities can be expected to be heavier than normal with a marked increase in road usage and with fine weather predicted many coastal towns will see an increase of holidaymakers heading their way.
Easter Family Pict
If you are travelling don’t forget to book your vehicle in with A1 Clutches for a service and check-up, we offer a free courtesy car and the most competitive prices in the Midlands. All our work is guaranteed.

On behalf of the management and staff at A1 Clutches we wish everyone a very enjoyable bank holiday and safe travelling, whether you stay at home or go abroad. Happy Easter!

Happy Motor-Homing from A1 Clutches

Motorhome holidays have suddenly become cool in the UK and in the USA such vacations are experiencing a huge boom in sales following a progressive eight-year growth. It is a tempting opportunity for holidaymakers who want to see a lot in a short space of time, and enjoy the experience in the comfort of a luxury vehicle.

Today’s motorhomes have come a long way from the cramped, split windscreen VW caravanette that many of us will remember from our youth. There is now a massive selection of vehicles for you to choose from, whether renting or buying. In the past, motorhome drivers were mostly retirees but that has changed and now they are just as likely to be young families or anyone looking for a less structured holiday. A motorhome is the perfect way of exploring the countryside for a long holiday or a short break. Whether you head for the seaside or the scenic sights of the Scottish Highlands, you can enjoy the freedom of the open road and the excitement of discovering new places from the convenience of having your own home on wheels.

You may consider motor-homing in the winter months and take advantage of off-season bargain hire rates and reduced rates at campsite pitches where many sites have extended seasons or are open all year round. A motorhome can also provide an ‘extra bedroom’ when travelling to events such as anniversary parties or weddings. In the festive season, hooking up to your friends’ mains and staying the night negates the need for a taxi.

If you are fortunate and own your own motorhome, remember to keep your vehicle in good order. Being roadworthy and safe is the key to a happy holiday. A1 Clutches are the Midlands leading motor home maintenance specialists and we recommend that you follow the owner’s manual. We also recommend the following tips to ensure safe and enjoyable driving:

  • Every six months check your vehicle’s roof seal and seams. Water damage, if not taken care of immediately, is costly.
  • Check your brakes regularly. This is vital for your own safety and other road users.
  • To keep your waste water system in good condition, ensure that you use biodegradable toilet paper.
  • Before every journey, check the tyre pressures and wheel nuts.
  • When storing your vehicle for the winter, remove the battery and keep it in a warm place to prevent any possibility of freezing (which would void your warranty).
  • Check your battery before every journey – well maintained batteries should have a life span of three to four years.
  • Cover all vents with polythene and tape them up so they are secure from weather impact and unwanted insects.
  • Replace your motorhome air, fuel, coolant and hydraulic filters regularly. Expense will be incurred as a result of increased fuel usage or overheating issues with the cooling system and oxidisation in the hydraulic system.
  • Oil and filters need changing at regular intervals. This will ensure that your engine runs correctly. Failure to do this could cause your engine major damage and become very costly. Most manufacturers recommend an oil change every 3,000 to 4,500 miles, but you should check your owner’s manual for advice on your own vehicle.

Today’s motorhomes come complete with central heating and are well insulated. At the end of your day, you can come back to your home on wheels, have a lovely hot shower and relax for the evening. Whatever you are doing and wherever you travel, everyone at A1 Clutches wishes you a safe and enjoyable journey.

Happy motor-homing!

Life doesn’t come with a Manual – it comes with a Mother

Mother’s Day, or Mothering Sunday is a day to show gratitude to all the wonderful mums everywhere and has been celebrated since the 16th century. It began with a religious purpose and was originally a day to honour and give thanks to the Virgin Mary, also known as Mother Mary. In the UK, we celebrate Mother’s Day in March and that special time is just around the corner. A mum, or person who is a mother-figure, is someone who deserves to be spoilt and appreciated on their special day.

So, this year, why not do something different? Mum may be expecting flowers, chocolates or even breakfast in bed, but why not surprise her with a unique car-related gift too? Mum’s vehicle could be last on her list of priorities, but first on her list of needs. You can make her driving life more pleasant with one of these thoughtful gift options:

• Fill her tank with fuel. Mums have busy lives, so save her the chore of visiting a garage and while you are there, get the tyres checked and windscreen washer fluid topped up.

• Mums very often drive in heels, which are not ideal for driving. Consider a pair of loafers, pumps or comfortable shoes for driving. A neat pair, that she can keep in the car, slip into and drive safely.

• Have Mum’s vehicle professionally valeted. Sneak her keys and if you are insured to drive it, whisk her wheels away to the valet shop. Imagine her pleasure to see a gleaming car with an immaculate interior, complete with a lovely new air freshener. If you don’t drive, book a mobile valet service to come to her home. Job done!

• Does your Mum have a habit of getting lost? No GPS? Up to date technology may be low on the priority list in the life of a busy mum. Give her a brand-new GPS device or have one installed in her car. If you want to be cool, buy a celebrity or character voice for her device (check that the system is compatible). Imagine Mum cruising along to the dulcet tones of Sean Connery or being kept on her driving toes by an in-character performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger or having fun with Del Boy, Boycie and Uncle Albert from Only Fools & Horses. You know it makes sense.

• Make sure Mum drives in complete comfort. The gift of a fitted seat cover or cushion that supports and embraces while driving, is a luxury she may not be used to but might be something she comes to love.

• Buy an extended warranty. Save her money with this gift which will keep on protecting her vehicle and give her (and you) peace of mind for future driving years ahead.

• Mums listen to music too, so let her ride with a good vibe. Have you considered purchasing a new sound system for her car, complete with a good quality set of speakers? She’ll love you for it as she cruises the country to her favourite tunes.

Nothing says, ‘Happy Mother’s Day,’ more than spending time with the person who raised you or is the important mother-figure in your life. Home is where your mum is, wherever that may be, so treat the special person in your life and ensure that this year and every year, she has a perfect Mother’s Day.

Feel The love
Feel the love for your car this February with a Valentine’s check-up

February is the month of love and if your car is one of your biggest passions, don’t forget to care for your car. Your car doesn’t ask for much but gives a great deal back, getting you and your loved ones from A to B safely, whenever you need it. Give your car the gift of love with a Valentine’s Day check-up. Don’t let your car break your heart, look after your vehicle and it will look after you. Regular maintenance will prolong your loving relationship with your car and ensure that you don’t get left high and dry with an unexpected breakdown.

Show a little bit of extra tender loving car care during the winter months because at this time of year, especially in February (the month of love!) the weather can be chaotic with freezing temperatures, sleet, snow and icy roads which cause mayhem for motorists. Look after your cherished vehicle by checking the following:

•You don’t want to breakdown with your loved one on-board, but if you are unfortunate and this happens, make sure you’ve packed an emergency kit which will include a thick blanket to snuggle under and keep each other warm. Chocolate will give you energy and water will keep you hydrated.

• Get the oil checked and filter changed regularly – keep your engine clean and running smooth on the inside.

• Road debris, salt and snow can damage your vehicle. Keep it clean and ensure your washer jets are operational and full – a dirty windscreen can seriously endanger your visibility.

• Book a regular service to get the most out of your car’s performance. A well-tuned engine produces the lowest level of emissions and delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy.

• Your car’s tyres affect the handling and traction – make sure you check tyre pressure regulary and don’t forget the spare.

• Pot holes spring up in winter and create havoc on your car’s steering and suspension. A wheel alignment reduces tyre wear and improves fuel economy. It also increases driving pleasure and safety. Make sure you have the correct tyre tread too.

• Like your heart, your battery needs to be in peak condition. Perform a volt test on your battery to make sure that it works correctly. You don’t want to get left stranded.

A1 Clutches have the highest, fully trained, skilled technicians for clutch and gearbox replacement, repair or installation. Feel the love for your car this February by calling us to book your vehicle in for a free inspection at any of our centres in Birmingham, Cannock, Derby and Tipton.


Happy Valentine’s Day

Rally Car - A1 Clutches
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019

All the team at A1 Clutches would like to wish all our customers a very Happy New Year. There is a lot to look forward to in 2019.

The Formula season starts in Australia on the 17th March covering 21 venues including the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on the 14th July with the season’s final race in Abu Dhabi on the 1st December 10 teams are involved in this year’s championship, can anyone challenge the Mercedes Team in 2019 and prevent them winning a sixth successive title.

F1 Car

This year see the introduction of yet more rules which will result in the cars being faster per lap. The new engine regulations, address fuel saving, biometric gloves and the driver’s weight. https://www.formula1.com

If you are a rally enthusiast the 2019 WRC season opens in Monte Carlo 24-27 January covering 14 events with the British event on the 3-6 October and finishes in Australia 14-17 November. 32 drivers are involved in this year’s championship. The roads on this epic motorsport adventure are spread across more than 15 countries, with 13 rallies on everything from snow packed forest tracks to rock-strewn mountain passes.

Rally Car

Each rally features a number (typically between 15 and 25) of timed sections – known as stages – run on closed roads. Drivers battle one at a time to complete these stages as quickly as possible, with timing down to 1/10th second. Along the way, a co-driver reads detailed pace notes that explain what is coming up ahead. Competitors drive to and from each stage on public roads, observing normal traffic regulations. https://www.wrc.com

For Karting enthusiasts, the British Karting Championship (the Super One Series which was founded back in 1983) starts in Cumbria 23-24 March and finishes on the 23-25 August in Shenington. With a pedigree stretching back over 30 years Super One has been the nursery of so many top line professional motor racing drivers, too many to list but including David Coulthard, Jason Plato, Dario Franchitti, Daniel Wheldon, Anthony Davidson and of course the dream team of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton as well as team personnel at the highest level. Super One is the official British and ABkC National Championship and awards the seeded Numbers for the classes. https://superoneseries.com

Chequred Flag

Autosport International is Europe’s largest indoor pre-season motorsport event and will be celebrating its 29th anniversary between 10th-13th January 2019 at the NEC in Birmingham. The show is unique in that it encompasses two trade-only days and also two days for the general public.

Featuring the very latest in motorsport, automotive and performance engineering technology, alongside cars and exhibitors from every level of motor racing, the show provides the perfect platform for members of the industry to meet, network and do business as well as enthusiasts to see the fastest cars, biggest stars and most amazing live action. If you want to visit the show you will find full details at: http://www.autosportinternational.com/about-the-show/ticket-information.

Drink Driving

Christmas is coming and the next few days may pass in a haze of socialising with friends, office parties and festive meals. If you drive, don’t take any chances. Annually, one in six deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit and on average, three thousand people are seriously injured or killed in drink-driving collisions.

In the UK, it is illegal to drive when drunk.

The law surrounding drink-driving offences can appear to be complicated. Variables can contribute to the alcohol in your system which may impair your ability to drive safely. Weight, metabolism, age, sex and even what food you’ve eaten that day and your stress levels can all make a difference.

So, what is the Drink-Driving law in the UK? In England and Wales, the law states that a driver can have no more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood and 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath. In Scotland, things are different and the limit has been reduced to 50 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood and 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

The consequences of being over the limit are serious and may be life-changing if you cause a death or injury by careless driving whilst under the influence. You may receive a driving ban, a heavy fine or even find yourself incarcerated in prison. Your insurance will be affected in a negative way and you may struggle to get cover. There are strict penalties if you are caught over the limit and if you are banned by a UK court, you cannot drive anywhere.

Christmas will see the annual series of powerful and often shocking adverts aimed at stopping drivers from having a drink before they get behind the wheel of their vehicle. Despite such campaigns, around a hundred thousand drivers lose their licence each year because they’ve been caught while driving over the legal limit. You may think that just the one won’t make a difference but it is best not to take any chances if you’re driving. It’s just not worth it.

Remember too that you can still be over the limit the morning after the night before. Even if you’ve had a good night’s sleep in between drinking, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the alcohol will have left your system. You may not be safe to drive to work. NHS Choices suggest the following as a guide:

•One hour for the alcohol to be absorbed
•One hour for each unit consumed

What is a unit? Alcohol is measured in units and be careful because they can add up, especially if free-pouring with friends. For example:

A single shot of spirit (e.g. whisky) is one unit
A pint of beer is two units
A 250ml glass of wine is four units
A pint of cider is three units

Even if you feel perfectly sober, just one drink can make you less safe behind the wheel. Alcohol reduces reaction times and increases a false sense of confidence leading to risk taking. Having a drink may make you feel drowsy and reduce your vision and skill in judging speed and distance.

Our police are extra vigilant at Christmas and watch the roads carefully. If you don’t want to get caught drink-driving, stay off the booze and use a taxi or find a designated driver. Don’t let one stupid mistake impact harmfully on your life for years.

Keep safe and let sober drivers do the driving this Christmas.