Winter driving woes

Winter driving woes

28 November 2018


Millions of Brits are unprepared for winter driving this year – with nearly half admitting they have not conducted any maintenance checks on their vehicle, according to new research commissioned by retailer Halfords.

One in six revealed they have previously broken down in the winter due to not completing routine maintenance and, as the weather worsens, it’s clear that motorists are not taking proper winter precautions.

Checking battery life, tyre pressure, and topping up oil emerged as some of the fundamental inspections that motorists have not yet carried out ahead of the winter months.

Shockingly, 40 per cent of those polled don’t know how to adjust the height of their headlight beams, while one in six doesn’t know how to turn on their full beams at all.

Ella Colley from Halfords, who commissioned the survey of 2,000 motorists, said: “It’s concerning that so few people perform the relevant checks on their vehicle ahead of winter.

“Purchasing antifreeze, changing tyres to ensure better grip on the road and getting your brakes checked are all simple measures motorists can take if they plan to drive over the colder, darker months.

“Do check your car battery, top up on windscreen washer fluid and ensure your lights are in good working condition too. In fact it’s important to take the time to check your car all over to make sure it’s in the best possible condition before winter arrives, or take it to a Halfords where we can do it for you for free.”

Putting on the fog lights and topping up the antifreeze feature among the maintenance functions Brit’s don’t know how to perform.

The detailed study raises concerns about the safety of motorists – as the weather is set to change over the coming months, driving conditions are likely to worsen across the UK.

Not surprisingly, one in seven said they find it harder to drive in the winter than the summer, and one in 10 motorists said they avoid driving in the winter altogether.

Heavy snowfall, black ice, and darkness emerged as some of the biggest fears motorists have about driving during winter, with more than half having cancelled a journey due to poor weather conditions.

According to UK Government stats, there are more than five million vehicle crashes recorded each year – 21 per cent of which are weather related.

Worryingly, 74 per cent did not recognise the importance of checking the battery charge level during this time of year – when temperatures drop, it’s the car battery that takes the biggest hit.  

In fact, discharged batteries are among the most common winter breakdown causes.

In the event of a winter breakdown, Brits cited the top five items to have in the car as a warm blanket, torch, a bottle of water, food and an ice scraper.

Other items included mobile phone, thick clothing and wellies as necessary items, while novel things such as chocolate, cheese and a flask of hot drink also made the list.

When it comes to windscreen maintenance – fortunately, 80 per cent know how to clear an icy window, 73 per cent can change the windscreen washer fluid, and seven in 10 know how to check their windscreen wipers.

Additionally, seven in 10 said they could tell if a wiper blade needed replacing.

However, one in 10 didn’t know that you should never put boiling water on an icy windshield, as this can seriously damage or crack the glass.

Perhaps more alarmingly, 40 per cent did not know how to change their antifreeze.

While Brits maybe not be clear about winter car maintenance, they do know where to go for advice –according to results, online platforms, YouTube videos and car manuals are the most trusted sources of information. Halfords also offers a free winter checks service too.

A quarter also said they would go to their partner for vehicle advice.


For further information please contact Halfords press office on 020 7287 5006 or