Driving home for Christmas - but plan ahead to minimise problems

Joseph Bulmer

As manufacturers share their plans for 2022 there is optimism that with the recovery underway, growth will move markets back towards pre-Covid levels.

There are several issues which will affect this.

Already there are outstanding order banks which in some cases will not be satisfied until the second quarter and the continuing shortage of semi-conductors is not expected to be resolved fully until 2023.

The other major factor is the level of inflation and what bearing that will have on prices as the year progresses.

This will be balanced by different increases in earnings but the uplift in certain public sector areas will put pressure on other industries and sectors to compete.

There are also over two million jobs on offer at the moment and although money was not the main reason for many quitting their jobs, it is hoped a proportion will return to work in 2022.

With some return to pre-Covid habits it is likely people will wish to spend money on goods, holidays and other entertainment, and an income will become necessary again.

Employers have already made changes to working practices and need to fill their vacancies urgently so it is hoped these circumstances will come together to resolve this issue.

Some manufacturers have already announced price increases, or their intentions to increase prices as a result of their increased costs of raw materials, energy and additional Brexit costs.

With the shortage of available production in the first half of the year, used car prices will stay at above normal levels and it may be advisable to think about your possible purchase now.

Now it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, many of you will be planning your journey to see relatives in different parts of the UK and this may be the longest trip you have taken for some time.

Although we are in the middle of a cold snap, the forecasters tell us December is expected to be mild. But whatever the weather, make sure you and your family are prepared for all eventualities.

If you haven’t had a service and one is due, book it now and even if you do not need one check the basics to minimise problems.

Taxi drivers who have been on the road throughout will tell you some people's standard of driving has fallen off, probably because they have not used their car so often.

The biggest issue is drivers pulling out or turning without adequate indication, so stay alert and take plenty of breaks.

If you have an electric car, work out where you intend to recharge and have an alternative in case it is busy or out of order.

The infrastructure is not yet as good as it should be outside the large cities so planning is the key.

As there were restrictions on travel last Christmas there will be more traffic on the road so allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

Finally, remember there are more vans on the road, some with inexperienced drivers, delivering the increased on -line purchases right up to the last minute.

Stay safe and keep smiling. I look forward to next week.