Winter driving

During the height of last winter’s big freeze the AA received double the volume of calls from motorists stranded next to broken down vehicles. In December 2010 the AA had 28,000 on one day the most breakdowns in since the organisation started.

The most common cause of breakdowns in winter is associated with battery problems. Greater reliance on car heaters and lights means motorists are twice as likely to suffer a flat battery in winter as they are in the summer.

The AA estimates that half of all breakdowns could be prevented if motorists serviced their vehicles at recommended intervals and carried out some basic checks.

Here are a few tips on how to stay safe this winter:

  • Only travel when absolutely necessary
  • Allow more time for your journey
  • Listen to local and national radio for travel and weather information
  • Slow down and leave increased space between you and the vehicle in front.
  • Be prepared when travelling. Keep the following in the car:
    • Ice scraper
    • De-icer
    • Torch
    • Warm clothes
    • Blanket
    • Shovel
    • Food & drink
    • High visibility jacket
    • First Aid Kit
  • Check
    • Your tyres are at the correct pressures.
    • Your vehicle lights are clean and working.
    • Your wiper blades are effective.
    • Your battery is in good condition and fully charged.
    • Your vehicle anti-freeze is the right concentration (your garage can do this for you).
    • Your windows and mirrors are clear of ice or condensation.
  • Drivers can get winter driving advice at
  • provides real time information on trunk road conditions.
  • Consider public transport options for your journey by visiting or

Remember to take regular breaks from driving - tiredness and loss of concentration are major contributing factors to road accidents.