Updated: Dec 27, 2021
The AA are urging taxi drivers and their passengers to download a saifree road safety tool to help with breakdowns over the festive period.
This Christmas period has been the first in two years where families and friends can come together, but those travelling to visit loved ones will also face a significant increase in traffic for the festive period.
When combined with the onslaught of storms and MET office snow, high winds and cold weather warnings, it is little surprise that almost 1 in 5 UK drivers admit they’re feeling more nervous about taking to the roads this winter. Amongst these growing concerns, the AA and emergency service operators across the UK are calling on members of the public to prepare for their car 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% struggle to describe their location. what3words enables drivers to communicate their precise location so breakdown services and emergency service operators can find them quickly and efficiently.
what3words location technology is said to be redefining the way we talk about location. It has divided the globe into 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares and given each one a unique combination of 3 words: a what3words address. For example, drivers can enter ///join.strict.bound to find the entrance of the Shell Garage of Beaconsfield Services on the M40.
The app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices, and works offline, making it ideal for use in areas with unreliable data connection, particularly important for those who have broken down in areas with no phone signal. The technology is available in over 50 languages, including Welsh.
Edmund King, AA president, says it is especially important that drivers are fully prepared for their upcoming journeys as 39% of people would consider driving in high winds, snow (29%) and icy conditions (25%) to see their family this winter.
King says: “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. 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.”
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.”
Chris Sheldrick, Co-founder and CEO of what3words, said: “For those driving home for Christmas, vehicle checks and road safety is crucial when embarking on a long drive. Downloading what3words can be an invaluable tool if you’ve broken down in the cold or dark, rain or snow. It means that roadside assistance or the emergency services will know exactly where to go.”