Press Release of the Day – 22nd June

British motorists are nervous about the return of rusty drivers as car usage begins to soar

  • One in three drivers are nervous about the driving ability of their fellow road users after a period of absence off the road
  • Only one in ten drivers are nervous about their own driving ability after a long period of absence behind the wheel
  • One in three drivers have not checked any parts on their car since lockdown began

British drivers are worried about the quality of other people’s driving as many are set to the return to the road after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted, according to new research by comparethemarket.com. Nearly one in three are worried about other ‘rusty’ drivers who have hardly used their car in months.

According to the research, three quarters (76%) of motorists have used their car less since the restrictions were introduced and a further 13% have not used their car at all. Since restrictions were eased by the Government on the 10th May, nearly half (48%) have not used their car any more than they did during the full lockdown. Just 7% of people have used their car more since restrictions were eased suggesting people are taking the lockdown measures seriously still, despite the news suggesting the public’s dedication is fraying.

However, only a percentage of drivers, nearly one in 10 (9%), are nervous about their own driving ability after a long period of absence behind the wheel. Drivers are far more worried about the return of other drivers with one in three (31%) questioning the driving ability of other road users after a long period off the road.

Drivers are also worried about the safety of their own and other peoples’ cars. One in ten (10%) said that they are worried about the safety of their vehicle after this period of little or no car usage, while one in four (25%) are worried about the safety of other cars on the road.

Despite drivers’ nervousness about the safety of their vehicle, one in three (33%) people who own or have access to a car have not checked any aspect of their car since lockdown began over two months ago. Only a quarter (25%) have checked their brakes during this time, 32% have checked the battery and the most commonly checked item on people’s cars were the tyres (51%).

Looking to the future, a fifth (20%) of people felt they would like to use their car less once the restrictions are lifted. When asked the reasons why, 42% wanted to walk more and 32% wanted to save on fuel which may indicate the household financial pressures that the UK finds itself dealing with at this current time. A further 24% of respondents felt that they used their car unnecessarily before the pandemic and 20% do not think they will be travelling to work in the same way again, reducing the need to use their car for commuting. Conversely, 64% expect their car usage to increase after the lockdown restrictions are lifted, which could be due to the Government’s guidelines around avoiding public transport where possible.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at comparethemarket.com said:

“Millions of cars have sat unused during lockdown, which is making many drivers nervous over their safety, and of the driving ability of those behind the wheel once restrictions are lifted. However, it seems that this concern is more directed at other drivers rather than the quality of their own driving. There will be a surge of cars on the road after lockdown making the roads more congested, which means drivers will need to keep their wits about them as they get back on the road.

“We would urge any driver to ensure they check their car before getting behind the wheel – this includes checking the tyres, brakes and fluid levels, as well as ensuring that insurance and tax are up to date.”

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