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What to do if you break down
November 26, 2015

Tips to help avoid a winter motoring disaster

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With half a million cars predicted to break down in December, experts give essential tips to help avoid a winter motoring disaster

  • December 29 is ‘breakdown day’ as people return to work after Christmas
  • Half a million cars will succumb to winter breakdowns in December alone
  • RAC Foundation says 4.6k miles of UK roads have no phone coverage
  • Experts share top tips to prepare for winter driving

With the Met Office predicting colder and wetter than average weather for the November to January months, it’s not the best time to be stranded at the roadside with a clapped-out car.

But Green Flag predicts it will happen to 900,000 motorists in the next two months – with more than half a million enduring the misery in December alone.

According to historical data from the breakdown provider, drivers are most likely to suffer a problem in the final week of December with an average 105,000 call-outs received as vehicles are restarted after being left standing during the Christmas period.

Waiting in a winter wonderland: Green Flag predicted half a million drivers will be calling on a breakdown recovery service during December

Waiting in a winter wonderland: Green Flag predicted half a million drivers will be calling on a breakdown recovery service during December

It reveals the day motorists are most likely to need breakdown assistance is the first day back to work after the Christmas bank holiday – 29 December this year – with an average of 43,500 breakdowns recorded on average based on back data.

Between Christmas Eve and the 29 December it expects to attend 158,000 car breakdowns.

But it won’t end there. Green Flag also predicts an additional 390,000 breakdowns in January, with almost a third of these coming in the third week of the month.

Drained batteries are the most common cause of breakdown during the winter with vehicles being left unused for extended periods of time as Brits spend enjoy a festive break from driving.

According to Green Flag's historical data, December 29 will see the most car breakdowns

According to Green Flag’s historical data, December 29 will see the most car breakdowns

Nick Reid, head of rescue at Green Flag, said: ‘Every year we see a noticeable spike in breakdown rates as the cold weather sets in and people’s cars are left unused.

‘We want to ensure drivers are able to get where they need to be, no matter what, so have taken a look at how to guarantee a stress free winter.’

Green Flag offers its own winter driving tips, consisting of the following:

  • Diligently check tyres – be sure they are legally inflated with the correct tread. In cold weather, tyre pressure drops, so make sure they are inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure. 
  • Check all vehicle lights are working. 
  • Be sure to check the oil level is topped up Apply Antifreeze to keep the engine’s cooling system from freezing.
  • Run the car engine or take it for a short drive over the Christmas break to recharge the battery.  

Almost 30,000 miles of UK roads have partial 2G network coverage, making it difficult to call for breakdown assistance in those areas. A further two per cent of highways have no coverage whatsoever

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