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Halfords Autocentres offers advice to drivers taking to the roads this August Bank Holiday weekend

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 22, 2014

Hands on steering wheel

Be prepared if you're driving this weekend.

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With millions of motorists expected to take to the roads over the August Bank Holiday weekend, a new study from Halfords Autocentres shows that the car breaking down, traffic jams and getting lost are the top three things guaranteed to ruin our plans.

New research from the leading independent garage business found that breaking down was the biggest fear of over half (52%) of drivers setting off on a trip with family and friends. Forty per cent said getting stuck in traffic would spoil the outing most, whilst getting lost was of greatest concern to one in four (25%).

However, many breakdowns can be avoided. The Highways Agency reports that of the 9,000 incidents it responds to over the summer months 8,712 of them tyre-related, whilst the AA report a major increase (22%) in vehicles overheating – just a couple of examples of preventable breakdowns.

Andy Randall, Managing Director for Halfords Autocentres, said: “Many of us will be hitting the roads over the Bank Holiday, travelling further than usual and encountering heavy traffic. So, whilst there is little you can do about the weather, you can make some precautionary checks before setting off to give yourself the best possible chance of reaching your destination without incident.”

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Avoid a Bank Holiday horror story by checking:

  • Tyre pressures (including the spare). This increases their life span and lowers fuel consumption by reducing rolling resistance. Very low pressures will adversely affect handling of the car and also causes a heat build up in the tyre which can cause a blowout.
  • Tyre treads. Legally, tyres should have at least 1.6mm depth across ¾ of the tyre and be free from bulges, lumps or cuts in order to reduce the chances of a puncture. However, independent research shows that tyres with 3mm of tread have an average 25% better performance than those at 1.6mm (equivalent to an extra 8 metres stopping distance in wet conditions)
  • Oil and water levels. These should be in line with manufacturer standards, so top them up as necessary – 60% of engine failures are due to cooling system problems.
  • Warning lights. Act on warning lights straight away to minimise the chances of a more expensive repair or breakdown further down the road.

Horn and head/tail lights. Be seen and heard to reduce the chances of a collision ruining your trip whether on the move or, in the event of a breakdown, at the roadside.

The inconvenience of a breakdown in the wrong place extends beyond the motorist who is stranded – it adds to the congestion that blights other drivers’ journeys and costs the UK economy £3bn every year*.

Andy added: “Almost a third (28%) of the drivers we spoke to said that the cost of repairs is what concerned them most about breaking down on a long journey, which is why we offer a free 15-point safety check for anyone planning a journey that is unsure of what to check or how to check their vehicle.”

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