Millions of Motorists Face Costly Winter Reality Check

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, one in 12 (8%) don’t examine their windscreen wipers or their vehicle lights and 18% don’t know what condition their battery is in.

While the figures are stark, the position is actually an improvement on last year. Following three harsh winters, more drivers are making preparations for a cold snap. Four in ten (42%) claim they are 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”.

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

Mark Dolphin, Halfords Winter Motoring Expert said: “There’s always a rush for winter products when the cold weather comes. Unfortunately many leave it too late. Good preparation can help avoid breakdowns, accidents and save money.

“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.”

Halfords offers a free Five Point Car Health Check where a trained fitter will check your lights, blades, screenwash, oil and battery condition. Halfords Autocentres offers a more comprehensive 12-point Winter Inspection, which addresses the parts most at risk including tyres, alternator, starter motor and antifreeze.

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. Millions of workers also found themselves losing pay as a result of not being able to get to work.

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

Via EPR Network
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White Out Warnings See Early Deliveries Of Sledges

It’s been the coldest summer for 18 years and already shops are getting ready for this winter’s big freeze, with Halfords taking early delivery of enough sledges to stretch end to end to the top of Mount Everest.*

The retailer is preparing for the worst with everything from snow chains, shovels and metal spiked-shoe covers heading for the high street.

But the 10,000 sleds that have just been shipped in are a reminder that the latest predictions of heavy snowfalls this winter are not bad news for everyone.

Louise Robinson, product manager at Halfords, said: “We want to ensure that our shelves are full of everything our customers will need and everything they might want, to both stay safe if they are on the roads and to enjoy any snowfalls in their free time.”

The car accessories and leisure retailer has ordered ‘significantly more’ tow ropes, snow shovels, and tyre snow socks for driving in severe weather and other winter product lines, as well as stocking fun items like the Sno Slinger, which designed to throw a snow ball much further; and a snow brick maker to help with construction of the kids’ igloo you always wanted to build.

Britain forecasters are predicting that violent storms will hit Britain with severe frosts as early as November – and, while white-outs bring fun for many, they cause misery for others. Last year much of the country came to a standstill with roads and railways paralysed amid record low temperatures and arctic conditions.

Halfords is urging motorists to prepare in advance and ensure they stock up on antifreeze, de-icers, screen wash, scrapers, salt for the drive and winter survival kits designed to keep motorists moving when the weather hits.

For severe conditions, items such as snow chains are invaluable.

The company is also offering free ‘five point checks’ to ensure cars are ready for winter, as part of its We Fit service; and garage chain Halfords Autocentres is advising drivers to fit winter tyres, which perform better on icy and snow bound roads.

Halfords winter driving expert Mark Dolphin added: “We are ready to meet all conditions and we want to make sure all our customers are too.”

Via EPR Network
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