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Lone Drivers

Press release: 29/02/2008

  • In the event of a breakdown, 93% of women and 45% of men admit they would be scared

  • 21% of women said they would question the motives of anyone who stopped to help them

New research from Britannia Rescue reveals that more than two thirds of all drivers would feel scared and vulnerable if their car broke down when they were driving alone. Despite this, almost one third (31%) make no preparations at all before they set off on a journey.

Whilst almost every woman surveyed by Britannia Rescue (93%) said they would feel vulnerable if they broke down alone in their car at night, almost half of male motorists surveyed (45%) admitted they would have concerns for their personal safety too.

This feeling of vulnerability led many drivers to say they would not want another motorist to stop and help them at the roadside – even if they were stranded alone. 16% of all motorists said they would not want anyone, male or female, to stop and help them at all, regardless of where they broke down.

Trust is a big issue for women drivers in particular. More than two thirds of the women who rejected being helped by a male stranger (68%) said that they would only want help from another woman because if a male stopped they would worry he might attack them. One in five lone women drivers (21%) said they wouldn't want anyone to stop because ‘you can't trust anyone these days'.

Men are more comfortable at receiving assistance from other motorists than women, with six out of ten (61%) saying they would appreciate the help. However, many said they don't want just anyone to stop - one in five men (20%) said they would only want help from someone ‘who knew what they were doing' and wouldn't want anyone else to stop.

Andrew Beard, spokesperson for Britannia Rescue, said "It's a sad reflection of today's society that many motorists would feel nervous if they broke down and someone stopped to help, despite honest intentions. Therefore, it is surprising that many motorists don't take out breakdown cover or take any precautions before setting off. A year long breakdown policy could cost less than half a week's grocery shopping, so it is cover well worth having."

When it comes to taking basic precautions before driving alone just one third (33%) let someone know where they are going and just half of people (51%) ensure their mobile phone is charged. Only two in five (43%) make sure they have with them the contact details for the provider and just three in 10 (28%) make basic car checks such as the oil and water levels before starting their journey

Andrew Beard added: "Our research suggests that many motorists don't take sensible personal safety precautions before setting off on their journey. Making sure your mobile is charged and buying road rescue cover are simple means to alleviate the stress and expense of breaking down at the roadside."