Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
12:59 PM 16th December 2021

Download Free Location App What3words Before Heading Out On The Roads This Winter

As the UK prepares for the first Christmas in two years where families and friends can come together, those travelling to visit loved ones will 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 (18%) UK drivers admit they’re feeling more nervous about taking to the roads this winter.

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

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 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.

"This winter could see an increase in demand for our services, particularly as more people than last year plan to spend time with family and friends at Christmas.”

For example, drivers can enter 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.

He adds;
“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.”

During the cold winter months, it’s crucial that road accidents are located by emergency services as quickly as possible. what3words is now used by over 85% of UK emergency services – police, fire and ambulance – and relied upon by countless individuals in the UK and across the globe who find themselves in often dangerous situations in remote locations without an obvious street address or postcode. The app has provided an invaluable resource for these services to quickly and efficiently locate these individuals, saving precious time in an emergency.

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 family and friends at Christmas.”

He added:
“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.”

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."

Chris Sheldrick, Co-founder and CEO of what3words adds:
“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.”

This winter, 81% of UK adults are planning on taking a car journey, with 52% driving to go shopping, 51% to see friends and family, and 34% 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.

Around the world, emergency call centres are embracing what3words at a rapid pace, with control rooms in the UK, US, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Singapore, Canada, India, and South Africa all utilising the innovative technology, and urging the public to download the app. what3words also works with the AA, LV, Call Assist, and National Breakdown to help locate those in need of roadside assistance with pinpoint accuracy.

As well as using the app for emergencies and breakdowns, people are using what3words every day to meet up with friends at parks and on beaches, to share great running and hiking locations, and to share sports match locations with their teams. what3words has also been built into in-car sat navs including Mercedes-Benz and Ford, enabling drivers to enter any destination with just three words. Companies such as Premier Inn and Lonely Planet use what3words to help travellers find the right hotel entrance or hard-to-find restaurant, and logistics brands like and Hermes use it to deliver goods exactly where they’re needed.