RAC warns of an ill wind that blows no good

Following an unprecedented number of breakdowns on Sunday, RAC is continuing to receive high levels of call-outs this morning - with calls currently peaking at 2,500 an hour.

Wales, North-East England and the Midlands are the busiest areas, with numbers of rescues in some areas running at twice their levels for a normal Monday morning at this time of year.

With temperatures plummeting, cars not starting remains the biggest breakdown problem. By the end of today RAC will have rescued in excess of 50,000 drivers since the start of the bad weather.

RAC's fleet of 4x4 vehicles are in the worst affected areas and extra Patrols are on the ground to help stranded motorists.

With further bad weather on the way, and high winds set to cause drifting in some areas, drivers are advised to check local weather reports and traffic conditions throughout the day and to give themselves extra time to get home this evening.

Alan Wilcock, RAC Patrol Ambassador of the Year, said: "We're likely to see an extended rush-hour tonight as people stagger their drive home. Drivers need to give themselves extra time and make sure they've checked out local conditions before heading off."

RAC offers motorists the following advice when driving in these hazardous conditions:

  • 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.