Britons prepare to see out the Big Chill

Britons have reacted to the big freeze which finally hit the UK, sending temperatures plummeting and covering large parts of the country in snow.

Car accessory retailer Halfords reports drivers stocking up on break down kits, de-icers, anti-freeze, scrapers and snow shovels.

Householders are also determined not to get caught out with a rush on bags of salt to ensure paths and driveways remain clear.

Weather forecasters have warned that the Arctic blast could last for the rest of the month, with sub-zero temperatures predicted for large swathes of the country.

The Met Office and the Highways Agency both issued Amber Alerts, the second highest rating for cold weather. They also warned of transport disruption as cold temperatures refreeze thawing snow, leading to black ice that makes roads extremely hazardous.

Halfords said sales of snow shovels were at their highest ever, while demand for de-icer sales was quadruple this time last year, de-icing salt was up 155 per cent, anti-freeze up 94 per cent, and purchases of ice scrapers increased by 75 per cent. Screenwash, a staple need for motorists in winter conditions, is also selling strongly.

Halfords winter products expert Mark Dolphin said: “Snow and Freezing weather is always very disruptive for motorists. There’s always a huge demand for all the products that help people stay on the road. It’s not just the de-icing products that are needed, a lot more batteries and wiper blades fail so our store colleagues are very busy replacing these for customers.”

A survey carried out by Halfords at the start of winter found more than four in ten (42 per cent) claimed to be better organised than last year, when the country was hit by the lowest temperatures for 15 years. Thousands of car owners have splashed out on winter tyres and taken advantage of garages offering “winter checks”.

Via EPR Network
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Penny-Wise Motorists Spend Spare Car Cash

Cash-strapped British motorists are plundering loose change from their cars to the tune of an estimated £27million, as fears over the economy take hold.

A new report by Halfords shows there has been a 16 per cent drop in the amount of petty cash kept in the country’s 34 million registered vehicles over the past 12 months.

Motorists feeling the pinch are raiding the stash of coins left in the ashtray and door side pockets, which they used to save to pay for parking and the occasional snack or drink.

The study, which Halfords has dubbed the “loose change economic index”, has revealed that today motorists knowingly keep on average £4.60 in their car, a significant drop from a year ago when £5.40 was the average amount stored in vehicles.

Across the UK, that translates from an estimated £183 million kept in cars 12 months ago, down to £156.4 million worth of small change in vehicles today.

The survey of over 2000 drivers asked them to keep a record of spare cash left in vehicles over a 12-month period. Over three quarters of those polled said they deliberately left spare change in the car or van to pay for parking in towns or at railway stations.

Just over a quarter (26 per cent) said they used the cash to buy the occasional drink or snack when filling up with petrol or at a motorway service station, although half of motorists said they were buying fewer treats than a year ago.

One in 12 (8 per cent) said they kept a £10 note hidden in the car in case they ran out of petrol, down from 10 per cent who kept the same emergency cash a year earlier and 82 per cent said they now regularly check their car for dropped and lost coins.

The downturn of 16 per cent in the amount of money left in cars over the past 12 months reflects a decline in disposable income and is three times the annual inflation rate, which latest figures showed running at 5.2 per cent. During that time petrol has gone up from an average 117.7p a litre to 134.5p a litre.

Halfords Motoring Expert, Mark Dolphin, said: “We know that times are tough for motorists and we’re trying to help ease the burden by offering affordable, value for money products and services. This includes our popular We Fit service, which fits bulbs, wiper blades and car batteries whilst you wait, and our garage network, Halfords Autocentres, which carries out dealership-quality work at value prices.

“Keeping your car well-maintained is the best way to ensure cost effective motoring.”

Via EPR Network
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