Throughout the festive season, we expect to discover many surprises, but some are more heart warming than others.

This was the case for the residents of New Street, New Mills, Derbyshire, who woke to find a cars wrapped in their very own woolly Christmas jumpers following the night when temperatures dropped to five degrees.

The festive knitwear was fitted by Direct Line to protect the vehicles from the cold, which can commonly result in non-starts first thing in the morning.

The firm has forecast one million breakdowns will occur this Christmas and non-starts is the number one claim (44 per cent) in December, followed by wheel changes (11 per cent) and flat batteries (nine per cent).  

Decorated with snowflakes and diamonds, the car-sized jumpers were a way to raise awareness for the issues faced by motorists with an impactful ‘fix’, especially when families are keen to stay mobile at this busy time of year.

Lesley Bradley, New Street resident and mother of two, said: “What a great surprise. This really made me and my family smile. I’m the sole driver of the family, so the idea of my car breaking down is unthinkable. It’s stressful enough having to ferry the children around, doing the Christmas shopping and visiting relatives on Christmas Day. I still have my job in the care home to get to as well. At least this is one less thing for me to worry about.”

The Christmas car jumper ‘fix’ follows a national Direct Line survey, which identified “weather conditions ruining the festive plans” as one of the ‘12 Dismays of Christmas’ – the top seasonal stresses identified by the public.

Here's a list of what’s stressing the nation this Christmas:

Christmas Shopping 33%
Overspending 33%
Christmas dinner going wrong 23%
Wrapping presents 20%
Family arguments 20%
Picking the wrong gift for someone 19%
Online presents arriving on time 17%
Weather conditions ruining the festive plans 16%
Forgetting to buy enough presents 15%
Shops not having intended gifts in stock 11%
Keeping the magic of Christmas alive 11%
Forgetting an ingredient for Christmas dinner 10%

Don’t let the winter weather ruin your plans with these easy tips:

Prepare your car:

Ideally, make sure your car has been serviced recently. Even if you’re not going for a professional check, test that your lights are working, that your tyres are in good condition and that your brakes aren’t worn. Make sure your windscreen wipers are ready for action and, crucially, top up with anti-freeze to defrost your windscreen.

Prepare for fog:

Visibility is crucial, so if you’re struggling to see further than the length of a football pitch – around 100m – then get your (dipped) headlights on. Drive slowly and if conditions get worse, use fog lights. If you feel like you’re driving blind, use your other senses: wind down your window at a busy junction and you will hear cars approaching.

Prepare for breakdowns:

Even with the best preparation, accidents do happen. Minimise the pain by keeping woolly blankets in your car boot to keep you warm. If there is snow on the roads, add a shovel. A piece of cardboard, carpet or a bag of sand will give you traction if your wheels are spinning.

If you’re on the motorway, pull over on to the hard shoulder and exit the vehicle in order to retreat to a safe spot. If you’re not on the motorway, stay in the car and run the engine for 15 minutes each hour. Do not listen to the radio or leave the lights on, as this will drain the battery.

Photo: Direct Line

Sophie Williamson Stothert


December 22, 2015

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