Millions of Motorists Face Costly Winter Reality Check

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Almost ten million motorists are risking breakdowns in freezing conditions by failing to prepare for the hazards of winter driving. With gales, frost and even snow predicted to hit Britain by the end of this month, a worrying 32% of car owners have neglected to make the simplest check on the level of anti-freeze in the engine or top up the windscreen wash, according to a new survey for Halfords.

Halfords

Halfords

32% of car owners have neglected to make the simplest check on the level of anti-freeze in the engine or top up the windscreen wash

Almost ten million motorists are risking breakdowns in freezing conditions by failing to prepare for the hazards of winter driving.

With gales, frost and even snow predicted to hit Britain by the end of this month, a worrying 32% of car owners have neglected to make the simplest check on the level of anti-freeze in the engine or top up the windscreen wash, according to a new survey for Halfords.

Over 60% fail to inspect tyres, a frightening one in 12 (8%) don’t examine their windscreen wipers or their vehicle lights and 18% don’t even check the battery.

However, with the prospect of a fourth harsh winter set to bring severe weather to the UK, the message is getting through to some.

Four in ten (42%) claim to be better organised than last year, when the lowest temperatures for 15 years caused massive travel disruption.

Some 5% of car owners say they have already bought winter tyres while thousands have taken advantage of garages offering “winter checks” and six out of ten people have bought, or are planning to buy, extra screen-wash.

Car, leisure and cycling retailer Halfords, carried out the on-line survey among 2030 motorists and said it had ordered in extra supplies of winter motoring products including snow chains, snow-socks, shovels, de-icer, ice scrapers and screen-wash effective in temperatures down to minus 20C.

Mark Dolphin, Halfords Winter Motoring Expert said: “We are delighted to see that an increasing number of vehicle owners are taking winter preparations seriously and that attitudes towards safe winter motoring are changing. We even sold a surprising number of ice scrapers and anti-freeze during the October heatwave as people began to prepare for winter in advance.

“But there are still too many people who assume their car will cope in the cold, without making an effort to perform basic checks.

“Good preparation can help avoid breakdowns, accidents and save money. It will also prevent you from becoming one of the millions last year who found themselves losing pay as a result of not being able to get to work.”

Bill Collins, technical manager at Halfords Autocentres added: "Motorists need to take action now to avoid problems as temperatures drop. Batteries in particular are common victims of freezing conditions and of course it's essential to ensure your car's has sufficient quantities of antifreeze. Regularly car servicing and checking your vehicle before setting out will dramatically reduce your chances of breaking down. We urge all drivers to have a winter inspection to ensure their cars are prepared for the inevitable harsh conditions.”

In a report into the chaos caused by last winter’s big freeze the House of Commons Transport Committee put the cost of the transport disruption which left millions stranded at £280m a day, while the cost to the country’s economy was put at £6 billion.

The Highways Agency has already launched a campaign to encourage drivers to prepare for winter weather.

Halfords Autocentre’s Winter Inspection is a 12-point check which specifically addresses the car parts most at risk, including tyres, battery, wipers, alternator, antifreeze, lights, and starter motor. It costs just £29.95 and includes a free Duxback Windscreen Treatment, a protective layer that disperses water quicker and reduces ice forming on your screen. The inspection also includes a winter consumables pack worth £10 that contains a trigger de-icer, concentrate screen wash, demist pad and heavy duty scraper.

For more information on Halfords products and services visit http://www.halfordsautocentres.com

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Jeremy Merckel
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