Motorists in cold war as big freeze bites batteries

Following heavy snowfall in many parts of the country yesterday, motorists now must be prepared to do battle with the cold, which for many will see them struggle just to get off their drive, warns RAC.

With temperatures in many parts of the country remaining well below zero, RAC is predicting another unusually busy day today with batteries and non-starts the biggest cause for concern. Those that do manage to get out will face icy conditions on the roads.

With further snow predicted for parts of Scotland, the Northeast, as well as the southernmost counties, RAC is staffing up accordingly, deploying extra patrols to the busiest areas, with extra support coming from RAC’s fleet of 4x4’s. Additional staff are also on hand to help answer customer calls as quickly as possible.

Alan Wilcock, RAC Patrol Ambassador of the Year, said: "We’re expecting another very busy day today as temperatures remain exceptionally low. The outlook for tomorrow morning’s rush hour commute is equally bad – with the cold set to play havoc with cars and roads yet again.

“If you haven’t used your car over the weekend and you’re planning to tomorrow, it really is worth starting it for five to ten minutes this evening – staying with the vehicle as it’s running. It may well be the difference between getting off your drive and calling us in the morning.

“If you do get off your drive, it’s important that you stay on the main treated roads wherever possible - it may be tempting to take a shortcut to beat the traffic - but it’s also likely to be far more treacherous.”

RAC advises motorists planning on travelling this weekend to:

  • Check local weather and traffic conditions before setting off and if you can avoid the trip do so
  • Give yourself extra time and stick to the main roads where possible as they're the most likely to have been treated
  • If you're travelling any distance, let someone know where you're going and when you expect to arrive
  • Make sure your car windows and lights are clear from ice and snow
  • Take extra clothing in the car, food and drink, scraper and de-icer, a charged up mobile phone, torch and potentially a shovel
  • Drive only as fast as the conditions allow and remember stopping distances are longer in ice and snow
  • Black ice can just appear to be wet patches on the road surface and tends to form on bridges and overpasses where the cold air can pass above and beneath the road surface
  • If the noise from your tyres on the road suddenly becomes quiet, it may well be you are driving on ice
  • Gentle manoeuvres are key to safe driving in ice and snow - use your accelerator, brakes, steering and clutch as gently as possible
  • If you're unfortunate enough to skid, steer into the skid and avoid the temptation to slam on the brakes

RAC has around 2000 patrols across the UK who can be accompanied by media to get an accurate ‘view from the road.’  It also has spokespeople available in London and at its key operations centre, near Birmingham, with access to views across the M6 and RAC’s busy call centre.

RAC press office:
Erik Nelson 01603 681682264/07989 427086, Vicki Burn 01603 684224/07800 692909, Adrian Tink 01603 681922/07800 690602