RAC Black FridayUK fleets are panicking delivery van breakdowns could mean Black Friday buyers have to wait for their Christmas bargains, new research from RAC Truck Rescue has revealed.

It has discovered almost a third of British businesses running fleets struggle to cope with reliability issues – and the sudden spike from Britain’s growing enthusiasm for Black Friday sales will put added pressure on distribution and haulage networks.

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“Consumers expect prompt and reliable delivery of the items they have bought online and fleet operators will be preparing for the extra pressure that comes at this time of year,” said head of RAC Truck Rescue Matt Dallaway.

The RAC is warning a sharp drop in temperatures coinciding with Black Friday this year further heighten the risk of breakdowns: last year, RAC Truck Rescue attended more than 100,000 breakdowns, with 10,000 happening in November and December.

No wonder almost half of businesses surveyed by the RAC reckon the cost of maintenance and repairs is a major issue second only to the price of fuel.

Also compounding the risk of Black Friday delivery delays is a shortage of drivers – the Road Haulage Association believes almost 50,000 extra drivers are needed to cope with the ever-increasing demand of online sales.

Black Friday sales are this year expected to pass the £1 billion mark for the first time, and most of them will come from online sales.