Motorists warned of Christmas traffic ‘disruption’ with experts praising ‘critical’ tool

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According to AA forecasting, 54 percent of drivers plan to travel on December 23 and 24, making these the busiest days for traffic over the festive period. Almost one in five UK drivers admit they’re feeling more nervous about taking to the roads this winter, and 81 percent don’t trust their sat nav or phone to get them to the right location.

Following weeks of uncertain weather thanks to Storm Arwen and Storm Barra, drivers are understandably cautious of driving before Christmas.

Because of these concerns, the AA and emergency service operators across the UK are calling on members of the public to prepare for their journeys by downloading the location app, what3words.

Recent data from the AA has revealed that over a third of breakdowns occur on roads with no street addresses and of those who do break down, 40 percent struggle to describe their location.

To remedy this, what3words enables drivers to communicate their precise location so breakdown services and emergency service operators can find them quickly and efficiently.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said it was especially important that drivers are fully prepared for their upcoming journeys.

AA data found 39 percent of people would consider driving in high winds, 29 percent would drive through snow and one quarter would travel in icy conditions to see their family this winter.

He added: “We understand that this festive period will be of huge importance to so many, and the AA are on hand not only to support those who get into trouble during travels, but also to help drivers to plan and prepare as best they can.

“As the UK continues to navigate ongoing levels of uncertainty, we are urging drivers to add extra layers of protection to their planning, to offset the potential disruption that busier roads and inclement weather can cause.

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“Downloading what3words will not only help us to help you, it also provides a sense of security for drivers in knowing that no matter what the situation or your location, you know exactly where you are.”

The location app has divided the world into 57 trillion squares and given each one a unique combination of three words.

One popular example is “join.strict.bound” which is the entrance of the Shell Garage of Beaconsfield Services on the M40.

Sean Sidley, AA Patrol of the Year, said: “This winter could see an increase in demand for our services, particularly as more people than last year plan to spend time with our family and friends at Christmas.

“Some simple preparations, like downloading the what3words app prior to your journey might help you if the worst should happen.

“If your car breaks down on a motorway, or in a rural area, your what3words location will help us locate you quickly, even with poor, or no signal.”

What3words is now used by over 85 percent of UK emergency services including the police, fire and ambulance.

The app works offline, making it ideal in areas with unreliable data connection, particularly important for those who have broken down in areas with no phone signal.

Christine Sharma, Road Safety Manager at Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue, said: “In anticipation of busier roads and unpredictable weather over the festive period, it’s critical that drivers are fully prepared for their journey ahead.

“We’re encouraging drivers to download what3words as another tool to be prepared.

“With the app, they can be quickly and efficiently located in the event of a breakdown or crash.”

This winter, 81 percent of UK adults are planning on taking a car journey, with 52 percent driving to go shopping, 51 percent to see friends and family, and one third to go on day trips or for leisure activities.

Drivers will also be travelling further this Christmas, with an average of 39 miles, up from 22 miles last year.

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