Press release

28 hours later - drivers lose more than a day a year due to roadwork delays and diversions

  • Council spending on roadworks rises yet number of live roadworks remains high
  • Each council spends around £8million on 4,134 roadworks projects, shows data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act
  • However, over half of drivers (57%) feel the quality of roads is declining

British motorists spend 28 hours a year stuck in their cars due to delays caused by roadworks - and the problem isn't going away any time soon, according to new figures from LV= Road Rescue.

According to insurer's road rescue service - who sourced data from councils via Freedom of Information requests - the gross number of live roadwork projects has remained drastically high, despite ever greater spending by local authorities.

Investment in road maintenance works is up 12% compared to last year [1], with councils across the UK spending almost £8million each on an average of 4,134 roadworks projects [2].

Yet well over half of drivers (57%) feel the quality of roads in their area is actually declining, while more than four in 10 (43%) do not think roadworks are completed quickly enough [3].

LV= Roadside Rescue's research shows that encountering roadworks adds nearly 17 minutes to the average car journey. With British drivers likely to have 100 journeys per year affected, this means that motorists are being forced to spend an average of 28 extra hours in their cars per year [4].

And these delays have serious consequences. A third of drivers (33%) have been late for work because of roadworks, over a quarter (28%) have got lost due to diverted routes, and one in five (21%) have missed a doctor's appointment. A further 11% have had an argument with a loved one because of roadwork delays, while one in 12 (8%) have been late for occasions like weddings and birthdays.

This results in nearly half of motorists (47%) complaining to their family and friends, a quarter (23%) complaining to work colleagues and one in 12 (8%) taking to social media to vent their anger regarding the problems encountered. Only one in nine (11%) have complained to the relevant local authorities.

Delays caused due to roadworks are highest in the North West, where drivers polled reported encountering roadworks, on average, 12 times per month (144 times per year), with average delays of nearly 20 minutes. This all adds up, and sees them lose a massive 47 hours and 47 minutes per year - almost two days of time. (See Table 1)

Rank Region Times per year hit by roadworks   Average traffic delay   Total time lost per year 
 1 North West 114 19mins 55secs 47hrs 47mins
 2 North East  142 17mins 11secs 40hrs 41mins
 3 London 78 27mins 32secs 35hrs 47mins
 4 West Midlands 104 19mins 14secs  33hrs 20mins
 5 East Midlands  110 17mins 23secs 31hrs 52mins
   British Average   100 16mins 55secs 28hrs 12mins
 6 South East  96 16mins 14secs 25hrs 58mins
 7 Yorkshire & The Humber  97  14mins 31secs 23hrs 28mins
 8  East of England  95  13mins 29secs 21hrs 22mins
 9  Wales  84  14mins 59secs 20hrs 58mins
 10  Scotland  86  12mins 43secs 18hrs 13mins
 11  South West  81 12mins 01 secs 16hrs 14mins


Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director of LV= Road Rescue, comments:
"It's astonishing how 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there can add up to such a phenomenal amount of time lost by drivers when they regularly encounter roadworks. Delays and diversions not only add time to a journey, but also have a negative impact on drivers' mentalities, as well as increasing wear and tear on vehicles if they are constantly stopping and starting.

"We would urge drivers to plan ahead as much as possible, to allow a bit of extra time for journeys, and to have cover and a safety net for any breakdowns."

Notes to editors

All research unless stated otherwise was conducted by ICM research between 20 and 22 April 2016. ICM questioned a representative sample of 2,002 British adults about their experience of driving and roadworks, of which 1,484 were drivers.

In addition, LV= issued a Freedom of Information request between 10 and 16 February 2016 to the Highways Agency (England), Transport Scotland, the Welsh Government, and all 206 city, borough and county councils. At the time of collation, we had received data from 120 councils and the Highways Agency. The Freedom of Information request was not sent to the district councils and local councils in Ireland, as previous FOI responses that LV= has received from these state they are not responsible for roadworks.

  1. Source: FOI data. Councils spent an average of £7,951,778 each on roadworks/road maintenance projects in the year 2014/2015. This is £876,963 more than the £7,074,815 spent on average per local authority area in 2013/2014 - a 12.4% increase.
  2. Source: FOI data. Councils completed an average of 4,134 roadworks/road maintenance projects in the year 2014/2015.
  3. Source: ICM polling. Of the 1,484 drivers polled, 57% said the quality or roads in their area were declining. 43% said that roadworks in their area weren't completed quickly enough.
  4. Source: ICM polling. The average delay reported by British motorists polled was 16.92 minutes - 16 minutes and 55 seconds. The average number of roadwork-related delays reported per month was 8.36 - 100 per year. This adds up to a cumulative delay of 28 hours and 12 minutes per year for the average British driver.
  5. Source: ICM. These figures are all calculated by multiplying the average time delay caused by roadworks by the number of times per year delayed, as reported by drivers polled in each region.

About LV=

LV= employs over 6,000 people and serves over 5.8 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We are currently the UK's number one brand for Insurance and Investments, according to the 2015 YouGov Brand Index Buzz Rankings.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

Press contact

Jon Sellors
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020 7634 4447
07711 701806