The 7 Kinds of Motorist in Distress

AA patrols trained to spot the most common motorists on UK roads

21 February 2008

an AA patrol van From Motor Mouths to Mindful Mums, the AA has collaborated with its patrols to identify the seven most common types of driver found on the nation's highways and byways today, with the insight being used to train all new recruits in the art of customer care.

Out on UK roads 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year, AA patrols meet up to 10,000 motorists every day and in the high stress situation of breaking down, it is imperative patrols understand what's going on in people's heads as well as under the car bonnet. Some of the motoring organisation's most experienced, long-serving patrols have been able to highlight seven key types of driver who, whether they've got a flat tyre or a faulty battery, react in a similar way when the iconic yellow van pulls up:

  • Fix-It First Fathers (FFF): Straightforward, logical thinkers, the FFF will probably have tried to fix the car before calling in the experts
  • Old and Personables (OAPs): More likely to call the AA for a home-start, OAPs will be on hand with tea and biscuits and want a natter with the patrols
  • Teacher's Pets: University undergraduates driving good quality sporty hatchbacks with a basic academic knowledge of the mechanics involved in car care
  • Motor Mouths: Drive customised, 'sporty' hatchbacks that look the part but aren't clued up as to what's going on under the bonnet
  • Ms Independent: Will not want to get her hands or expensive clothes dirty, so she'll pass the car keys to the patrol and spend the rest of the time glued to her mobile phone
  • Mindful Mums: Kids come first for the Mindful Mum who will often be emotionally charged in a breakdown situation so the AA patrol may help get the kids to school before returning to fix the car
  • Peter Pans: 30 somethings with boy racer roots – though slightly more mechanical knowledge than their younger counterparts

Adam Ashmore, AA Patrol fo the year AA Patrol of the Year, Adam Ashmore explains, "No two days are the same out on the road as an AA patrol, and the wide variety of the people you meet along the way is what makes the job so satisfying. People come first for us – an engine is an engine, but getting a mindful mum and her children's car fixed and on to school safely and on time will be our number one priority with replacing the flat tyre or fixing the fan belt coming a close second, of course!"

The UK's largest motoring organisation is using the new insight to complement its training of all new recruits in the art of customer care, proving that it's not just mechanical expertise needed to make the grade as an AA patrol. The identified driver types have been incorporated into the existing customer care module that all AA recruits must pass as part of their four-week induction training programme.

Donald MacSporran, Head of AA Patrol Training, adds: "For all AA patrols, a competent roadside manner is as important as the high level of mechanical expertise our members have come to expect. The additional training element will help to teach new recruits how to deal with a variety of motoring personalities whilst at the roadside. It's vital that patrols can prioritise when arriving at a breakdown situation, whether that's making sure children are in a safe area, knowing how to speak with all AA members regardless of age, or dealing with the assertive business type who has little time or patience. The patrol has to understand that fixing the member is as important as fixing the car."

The next class of AA patrols will be introduced to the new training initiative on the 3rd March.


21 February 2008