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DIY Rescue Puts Broken Down Drivers in Peril

Press release: 15/08/2011

  • Seven million drivers have attempted a DIY rescue in the past five years [1]
  • One in twenty broken down drivers have accepted a lift from a stranger
  • 43% of younger drivers rely on the ‘garage of mum and dad’ to get them home after a breakdown
  • 297,000 [2] drivers have broken down overseas in the last five years without any breakdown cover

Millions of drivers are risking their own safety and that of other road users by trying to repair their cars themselves, according to Britannia Rescue.

Since 2006, close to seven million drivers have attempted do-it-yourself repairs or called on friends, family and even strangers to rescue them on the roadside. One in ten (11%) broken down drivers say they have left their car and walked along the motorway's hard shoulder to get help and one in twelve (7%) has waved down a total stranger for help. One in twenty (5%) broken down drivers even admit they have even got into a stranger’s car following a breakdown. Around half as many have risked life and limb crossing a motorway to get help when broken down, increasing risks for driver and rescuer alike.

A quarter of those who called on unofficial rescuers for help had to be towed by friends and family, with young people particularly guilty of calling on the ‘garage of mum and dad’ when they need roadside assistance. Yet over a third (36%) of those who have been rescued by relatives are unsure whether they followed towing laws, with a further 14% saying they did not care if they were illegally towed as they just wanted to get home.

Unsurprisingly, DIY repairs have a poor success rate with one in three (31%) unable to fix the problem at the time. Of those that did manage to fix it, one in twenty (4%) broke down again before the end of the journey – putting themselves in a difficult situation, as most breakdown services won’t cover the cost of repairing cars on which drivers have attempted a DIY fix.

Most worryingly, UK motorists are relying on DIY breakdown measures even when driving outside the UK. Over 297,000 drivers have broken down overseas in the last five years and called on non-official rescue services for help, with one in twenty calling on the kindness of strangers to get them moving again. Yet scrimping on cover is actually proving to be a false economy, as drivers often spend more on DIY repairs than they would on roadside cover. Those relying on unofficial rescue assistance fork out an average of £130 fixing makeshift repairs, emergency hotel accommodation, travel expenses and ‘thank you’ gifts for those who come to their aid.

The research show that many motorists are taking their chances and unnecessary risks by cutting back on breakdown cover. Britannia Rescue offers entry level breakdown cover starting from just £29 a year for the Roadside Assist package, which offers 24hr breakdown assistance 365 days a year.

Peter Horton, Britannia Rescue managing director, said: "Relying on friends, family and strangers to provide an unofficial breakdown service is risky, costly and even illegal in some cases. We would encourage motorists to take the long-term view when considering their options for breakdown cover. A year’s subscription could be less expensive than you anticipate and in the event of breakdown, the driver - and their passengers - can relax in the knowledge that they will receive fast, safe and effective assistance from trained professionals."

General information on Britannia Rescue can be found at www.britanniarescue.com



Notes:

Britannia Rescue is the UK’s fourth largest road rescue organisation and is part of the LV= group of companies. Britannia Rescue‘s network has over 3,000 breakdown professionals nationwide and average response time is under 40 minutes. The company has been awarded a Which? Best Buy and offers breakdown assistance throughout the UK and Europe. The company was named top provider of road rescue in the Auto Express Driver Power Survey for 2009.

LV= is a registered trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs around 4,500 people, serves over four million customers and members, and manages around £8.0bn (as at 31 December 2010) on their behalf, via LV= Asset Management (LVAM). We are also the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading mutual financial services provider.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

About the research

All research unless otherwise specified was conducted by ICM. ICM interviewed 2006 Drivers in Great Britain between 13th-19th May 2011. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.com


[1] The Department for Transport's National Travel Survey (2009) estimates that there are 34,000,000 full driving licence holders in the UK. According to research by LV=, 50% of drivers have broken down in the last five years. 50% x 34m drivers = 17,000,000. 39% of those drivers breaking down in the last five years have used an unofficial breakdown or rescue service (e.g. self, friend, family, parent, passenger, motorist or passer-by that was a stranger, local garage or emergency service). 39% x 17,000,000 = 6,630,000.
[2] The Department for Transport's National Travel Survey (2009) estimates that there are 34,000,000 full driving licence holders in the UK. According to research by LV=, 50% of drivers have broken down in the last five years. 50% x 34m drivers = 17,000,000. 39% of drivers who have broken down in the last five years have used an unofficial breakdown or rescue service (e.g. self, friend, family, parent, passenger, motorist or passer-by that was a stranger, local garage or emergency service). 39% x 17,000,000 = 6,630,000. 7% of those drivers breaking down in the last five years have broken down overseas. 7% x 6,630,000 = 464,100. 64% of drivers breaking down in the last five years have broken down overseas have used an unofficial breakdown or rescue service (e.g. self, friend, family, parent, passenger, motorist or passer-by that was a stranger, local garage or emergency service). 64% x 464,100 = 297,024.