With weather experts predicting possible snow as soon as next month and plummeting temperatures, a worrying 32% of car owners neglect to make the simplest check on the level of anti-freeze in the engine or top up the windscreen wash, according to a new survey by Halfords.
Halfords, the leading cycle, motor and leisure retailer said it had already seen demand for cold weather gear including shovels, AA emergency kits for vehicles and packs of salt for melting snow and ice on drives and paths.
Despite a mild winter last year memories of two previous years of extreme conditions have prompted many to plan ahead. Almost six in ten, 58%, said they had or planned to stock up on winter products and three per cent of car owners, almost 1 million, now confess to owning winter tyres.
A quarter (26%) said they always carry a blanket and five per cent have an in-car charger to keep the mobile topped up. 17%, one in six, have a bottle of water or a bar of chocolate in the glove compartment.
However a disturbing number plan to leave it to chance according to an on-line survey of 2030 motorists. Insurance industry statistics reveal the chances of breakdown double in the winter months and the Highways Agency is warning drivers to be prepared.
Forecasting expert James Madden, of Exacta Weather, gave the following prediction: “I expect large parts of this winter to be very cold and exceptionally snowy in comparison to last year. I also expect these conditions to arrive earlier, rather than later this winter. There may even be the potential for some of the coldest/snowiest conditions in at least a century at times within the upcoming winter.”
Halfords has responded by rushing out more of their winter lines early and ensuring adequate supplies of salt, de-icer, antifreeze, windscreen wipers, snow socks, traction tracks and snow and ice shoe-grips, as well as car batteries online.
Halfords Autocentres Marketing Director Rory Carling added: "The unpredictability of winter weather means that drivers should really plan for the worst rather than then hope for the best.
"We have already begun receiving bookings for our Winter Check service from a small number of forward thinking customers but last year's relatively mild winter may have lulled some people into a false sense of security. These predictions highlight the need for car owners to take every precaution in order to ensure that they and their passengers enjoy safe motoring when the cold weather strikes.
“Our network of more than 260 Halfords Autocentres offers a comprehensive 11 point Winter Check conducted by ATA trained mechanics - providing customers with peace of mind that knowledgeable staff have evaluated the condition of their vehicle and advised on the areas most at risk during the winter months.
Notes to Editors:
For more information on Halfords products and services visit www.halfords.com
Halfords survey carried out by One Poll 2012. 2030 motorist.
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The Group is the UK's leading retailer of automotive, leisure and cycling products and through Halfords Autocentres also one of the UK's leading independent car servicing and repair operator. Halfords customers shop at more than 460 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland and at halfords.com for pick-up at their local store or direct home delivery. Halfords Autocentres operates from more than 260 sites nationally and offers motorists dealership-quality MOTs, repairs and car servicing at affordable prices.
Halfords employs approximately 12,000 staff and sells around 10,000 product lines in stores, increasing to around 16,000 lines online. The product offering encompasses significant ranges in car parts, cycles, in-car technology, child seats, roof boxes, outdoor leisure and camping equipment. Halfords own brands include the in-store Bikehut department, for cycles and cycling accessories, Apollo and Carrera cycles and exclusive UK distribution rights of the premium ranged Boardman cycles and accessories. In outdoor leisure, we sell a premium range of camping equipment, branded URBAN Escape. Halfords offers customers expert advice and a fitting service called "Wefit" for car parts, child seats, satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems, and a "Werepair" service for cycles.