Driving home for Xmas with the family is waning in popularity. But of the millions of car owners who do make the trip home for Christmas, 510,000 will be delayed on the way by a conked out car. According to Green Flag research, between December 24th and 29th, there will be a breakdown every six seconds.
Throughout December and January, Green Flag warns there will be 900,000 breakdowns. Despite that, only 23 per cent of drivers now carry a tool kit in their car. However, 41 per cent do have a first aid kit; 44 per cent will be carrying water and 74 per cent of British drivers will be armed with their trusty ice scraper.
Research suggests that 4 million drivers will take to the road on Christmas Eve. Green Flag claims that most journeys will begin at between 10 and 11am. And 4.6 million cars will be on the move on Christmas Day.
Despite these numbers, investigators found that fewer people than a decade ago are visiting family over Christmas. In 2005 more than half of British people (55 per cent) say they’d do whatever they could to make sure they saw their family. Now just a third (33 per cent) of Brits feel the same. Two thirds of us say factors like travelling long distances (24 per cent), awkward, dull conversation with family (25 per cent), and not being able to drink because we’re driving (18 per cent) will prevent us returning home this Christmas.
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The number of car owners who worry about visiting family because of dangerous drivers on the road is now 14 per cent, a figure that has doubled over the past 10 years. Sixteen per cent claim bad traffic is an influence, while 13 per cent cite the cost of travel. This has increased from an average of £35.78 in 2005 to £51.66 now.
In 2005, the investigation found that the average worker’s Christmas break was seven days. That has increased to 10 or more days off now. But tellingly, we still only spend around two days with our relatives.
Richard Woolfson, family psychologist, said: “It is evident in the results that a vast majority of Brits are finding an excuse not to visit their family over the Christmas break. Unfortunately, this confirms that the stresses and strains of everyday life often relegate family gatherings to second place.”
Neil Wilson, Green Flag’s head of rescue and motor claims response, said: “It’s no surprise that long distances and traffic top the reasons why we are reluctant to drive to see our families. Breakdowns unfortunately do happen over the Christmas period – with stress levels high on the roads and in the home. While we can’t fix breakdowns in the home, we can help with those on the road. At Green Flag, we strive to make our rescue service as efficient as possible, to get customers on the road and up and running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”