in association with RAC

Stranded on the Drive

01 December 2010

Motorists 50% more likely to breakdown at home in winter


Winter is on its way and RAC is urging motorists to prepare their vehicles for cold and snow. There’s a lot that can be learnt from what drivers experienced on the roads last winter. Whether it was running out of fuel, getting stuck in snow, forgetting to renew their breakdown cover or simply not making it out of the drive, motorists had a hard time of it.


RAC Members were 50% more likely to break down at home last December and January than in summer. The long and severe winter saw RAC receive over 1.35 million calls and attend more than 750,000 breakdowns, with 4 January being the busiest day with nearly 15,000 breakdowns – one of the busiest ever in the organisation’s 113 year history.


According to RAC’s analysis of breakdowns last winter, Monday was the most common day for motorists to breakdown. The most common reasons for winter callouts were:


  1. Battery related
  2. Tyre related (e.g. puncture, no spare)
  3. Road traffic accident
  4. Alternator
  5. Engine flooded


Regional patrol manager David Hawes said, “Winter driving proved challenging and unpredictable for many last year. With some weather forecasters suggesting another cold winter motorists would be wise to ensure their vehicles are prepped for winter before the bad weather hits.

“Over 6,000 motorists without breakdown cover contacted RAC for help last winter and I’d urge those with cover in place to double-check it’s to the level they assume or require. It may come with their bank account or car insurance, in which case again they should check the level of cover it provides - are they covered, for instance, if they break down at home or only by the roadside?”


With breakdowns ‘at home’ most common in winter, RAC is offering free ‘at home’ protection for new members buying personal based roadside and recovery cover. This can save drivers up to £34, in addition to an online discount when buying cover at


No-one wants to be stranded on the roadside – or their drive, even – this winter, though. So to help prepare their car for cold and snow, RAC is also recommending drivers carry out a few basic checks that can potentially prevent a breakdown:


  1. Check tyre pressure (and your spare tyre, too!), tread depth (at least 3mm is advisable in winter conditions) and oil level
  2. Check all lights are working correctly and remember to keep them clean
  3. Check front and rear wiper blades for wear or splitting