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Cold snap fuels breakdown call rise

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Britain's winter misery has spelled trouble for motorists, with one car insurance firm reporting a record 57% increase in breakdown calls due to the cold snap.

Over the last month, the Kwik Fit Insurance has received calls from thousands of customers unable to start their cars or those who have had accidents as a result of the difficult conditions.

The firm has more than 5,000 mechanics at its disposal responding to emergency breakdown calls, and the number of jobs they have received has risen by 41%.

More than a third, or 36%, of these calls were related to flat batteries, while the intermediary said skidding due to flat tyres and hitting pavements were also among the reasons customers called for help.

With meteorologists predicting that the cold snap will continue, Kwik Fit Insurance has sent out winter weather driving advice to 300,000 customers this week advising Britons to be careful in the difficult conditions.

The firm's group managing director Brendan Devine said: "Even if you are not using your car in this weather you should start it up regularly so the battery doesn't go flat."

© Press Association 2009