RAC has busiest day this year - expects more than 17,000 breakdowns

RAC has had one of its busiest ever days today, already attending more than 14,000 breakdowns as at 4:00pm. RAC expects to attend more than 17,000 breakdowns by the end of the day.

The cold has hit motorists hard, with non-starts, dead batteries, frozen cooling systems and wipers frozen to the windscreen as the main culprits.

West Midlands, Wales, Manchester and Liverpool are the busiest areas and RAC has drafted extra Patrols into these areas to help motorists get on their way as quickly as possible as well as having additional staff taking calls from customers.  

Alan Wilcock, RAC Patrol Ambassador of the Year, says: “We’re expecting an exceptionally busy rush-hour this evening as temperatures plummet again. The outlook for tomorrow morning is equally bad – with the cold set to play havoc with cars and roads yet again.”

“If you haven’t used your car today and you’re planning to tomorrow, it really is worth starting it for five to ten minutes this evening. 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.”

With the cold hitting cars especially hard, RAC advises motorists to make the following checks:

  • Ensure everything is switched off when you end your journey including lights, heater, fan, heated rear windscreen, radio etc – every volt is precious first thing in the morning!
  • Top up screenwash and ensure there is still sufficient antifreeze in the coolant
  • Check the wiper blades for damage and replace if necessary.  When wiper blades become frozen to glass it is very easy to damage them when freeing them up
  • Charge/top up batteries if possible – particularly if the vehicle is primarily used for short journeys
  • Keep a squeezy bottle or similar in the car filled with screenwash with additive just in case the washer system ices up whilst driving
  • Remember to clear any residual snow/ice from both front and rear lights
  • Inject appropriate antifreeze into locks if frozen – or use WD40 or similar
  • Use a little silicone polish on the rubber door seals – it helps prevent doors getting stuck when it freezes

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:

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