Emergency services predict Christmas breakdowns

Breakdown assistance calls are expected to peak on 28 December and 4 and 5 January, according to roadside assistance company Allianz Global Assistance UK.

Calls are expected to spike between 10am and 11am on 28 December, and during the rush hours and school runs on 4 and 5 January.

Colin Watt, head of service delivery at Allianz Global Assistance UK said, ‘Most calls we receive after Christmas are due to flat batteries because people don’t use their cars during the break, leaving them on a driveway.

‘The problem is that people tend to take short journeys over Christmas, with the windscreen wipers going, the heating and the radio on full, which all puts pressure on the battery. In addition, we’ve seen that people leave interior car lights on by mistake, which also drains the battery.

‘We advise motorists to take a bit of care by making sure their lights are off and taking the car for a good run over Christmas to boost the battery – the perfect excuse for a drive in the country for that Boxing Day walk.’

Allianz has also found that driving habits over Christmas have changed over the years. He explained, ‘A decade ago Christmas Eve was when callouts for roadside assistance peaked, with large numbers of people heading off at the last minute for holidays or to stay with family and friends, facing chaos on the roads and motorway tailbacks.

‘However, people now seem to make the most of the Christmas break by taking more than just the official festive bank holidays as time off, which means the traffic is more staggered and less congested.

‘While we still receive a much higher number of calls than average over the Christmas period, these calls are distributed more evenly throughout the holidays with smaller peaks both before and after Christmas.’

But while Allianz has predicted peak periods for call outs during the festive break, it says there is a greater spread than previously.

Colin said, ‘The good news is that we forecast a 30% increase in assistance calls on our busiest days against the daily average, that pales in comparison to peaks of up to 50% higher in days of old.’