30 January 2012
AA rescues one in ten UK drivers during last 12 months
In 2011, the AA handled more than 5.2 million breakdown calls and attended around 3.4 million call-outs – rescuing around one in ten drivers in the UK.
The milder weather last year saw the number of battery-related call-outs fall compared to 2010 – down 17% to around 450,000 cases – but it was still, by some margin, the most common breakdown in 2011.
Punctured or torn tyres was the second most common reason for calling out the AA, up 8% to more than 363,000 call-outs; and problems with lights rose by more than a fifth (22%) to around 162,000 call-outs.
Keith Miller, AA patrol of the year, comments on the increase in punctures: “Increasingly we’re seeing cars with barely any tread on the tyres. As well as being illegal and potentially dangerous, the tyre is much more likely to puncture. Members tell us that they have put off replacing them due to money worries.”
Mechanical failure was not the only reason members called on the AA. Patrols also helped more than 40,000 members (up 11% on 2010) who had locked their keys in the car and rescued 2,482 children and 832 pets locked in cars.
Unsurprisingly, Monday was the busiest day of the week for breakdowns last year with an average of more than 10,800 breakdowns; while Thursday was the quietest weekday with around 9,300 on average. The busiest day overall was the return to work on Tuesday, 4 January 2011 with around 18,000 call-outs.
Keith says: “Mondays and breakdowns have always gone hand-in-hand, especially if accompanied by cold weather. The main issue is that all cars continue to draw current from the battery after the engine has been switched off, for things like the clock, alarm and immobiliser. If the battery was very low on charge when it was last used or nearing the end of its life, then 48 hours sitting idle can be enough to leave it incapable of starting on Monday morning. Cars used for short local journeys, like the school run, are particularly vulnerable.
“Build-up of damp is another reason, affecting ignition leads on older cars and other electrical components.”
Top ten breakdowns in 2011 (AA roadside patrols only)
Keith says: “Although modern cars have longer service intervals, the basics of car maintenance haven’t really changed, so it still pays to pop the bonnet and do the regular checks.
“However, although many breakdowns are preventable, often you have no control over it, potentially leaving you in a stressful and dangerous situation. Whether it’s on a Monday morning or a Sunday night, breakdown cover offers year-round peace of mind for far less than the cost of one-off emergency assistance from a garage.”
(2 February 2012)