Yuletide Chaos – 38% of drivers in Cardiff set to navigate Christmas perils: urgent safety reminders issued

  • New data reveals that 29% of drivers in Cardiff feel uncomfortable heading out in the dark because of concerns over visibility, breaking down and extreme weather conditions

New research from what3words has revealed that despite 29% feeling uncomfortable driving in the dark, 38% of adults in Cardiff will be getting behind the wheel to go visit family and friends this Christmas.

With it being the darkest time of year, and the recent extreme weather warnings from the Met Office, including chances of flooding due to heavy rain, windy conditions, and potential frost, ice and snow, the emergency services and the AA are urging members of the public to prepare for long drives by downloading the free what3words app.

According to the AA, Monday 18th December is forecasted as the worst day for breakdowns this winter. Following the winter solstice on 22nd December – the shortest day of the year with less than 8h of sunlight – the AA is also anticipating 23rd December to be the busiest on the roads this winter.

Surges in traffic impose a higher risk of breakdowns and accidents and the what3words research indicates that 43% drivers in Cardiff claim they would not feel comfortable describing their location to roadside assistance or emergency services in the event of a breakdown. Recent data from the AA confirms this: 40% of people struggle to describe their surroundings when calling for help.

what3words enables drivers to precisely communicate their whereabouts so assistance can be sent quickly and efficiently. Since last year, the AA has seen a 168% increase in members  using what3words to report the exact location of where they’ve broken down.

Even though there are more cars on the road at this time of year, driving can be daunting for many. In fact, 29% of adults in Cardiff state that they do not feel comfortable driving in the dark winter months. 15% of them say it’s due to a lack of street lighting, and 54% blame the icy and snowy roads, and oncoming headlights (54%). 8% also worry about their vehicle breaking down, and 15% are concerned about getting stranded in an unfamiliar location. However, research shows that despite their worries, 50% of adults in Cardiff do not check the weather before heading out on a long drive, and 16% will embark on a drive regardless of the weather warnings.


Edmund King, President of the AA said: “Breaking down in an unfamiliar location can be a daunting experience at any time, even more so if travelling to visit family and friends at Christmas. what3words helps drivers and our contact centre staff to identify an exact breakdown location. By working together, The AA and what3words are using the latest technology to provide drivers with even more peace of mind. Using three everyday words is a smart way to get you back on the road.”


Nick Powell, AA Patrol of the year commented: “Our five-star patrols are used to seeing AA members in all kinds of situations in some very unusual locations. Whether our members are helping Santa to deliver gifts in a busy town, or retreating to a country hideaway for Christmas, using what3words helps us to get to our members faster.”


Gill Pleming, Clinical Contact Centre Manager at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “what3words has proven to be such a hugely valuable tool since we launched it last year, helping us to locate 800 ill or injured people in remote locations who otherwise we would have struggled to find.


“With the popularity of ‘staycations’ on the rise, we’re anticipating more visitors to Wales than ever before, which is why we would urge the public to download this free app now in order to save precious time in an emergency.”


The AA accepts what3words addresses, allowing members to easily share the precise location of where they’ve broken down with their service provider over the phone. what3words is also used by 85% of the UK’s emergency services – police, fire and ambulance – and has become an integral part of the emergency toolkit, saving dispatchers and responders precious time and resources in an emergency.

The what3words app is free to download on iOS and Android, and via the online map at what3words.com. It also works offline, making it ideal for drivers who need assistance in areas with limited phone signal or poor connectivity.


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