Amber alert issued over weather

Sales of breakdown kits for cars have surged as the big freeze sweeps the UK.

With many parts of the country covered in snow, Halfords has reported drivers are stocking up on breakdown kits, de-icers, anti-freeze, snow shovels and windscreen scrapers.

Bags of salt - in short supply in previous midwinter deep-freezes - have also been bought in order to make sure paths and driveways stay clear.

It is feared that the Arctic blast could hold on throughout February, with very low temperatures in store for many parts of the country. The Met Office and Highways Agency have issued the second-highest alert level for weather in the UK, Amber, amid fears of black ice causing accidents and claims onbreakdown cover on the roads.

And it is sometimes the case that it is the smallest things on a car that can cause the biggest problems during bad weather. Halfords winter products expert Mark Dolphin said: "It's not just the de-icing products that are needed, a lot more batteries and wiper blades fail."

Copyright Press Association 2012