AA-Populus Driver poll – 2018

Highlights from our 2018 Driver Poll surveys

Working with market research experts Populus, our Driver Poll is the largest dedicated motoring opinion panel in Europe.

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018


December 2018

There were 22,229 responses to the December poll between 11 and 17 December, 2018. 

Long journeys

Around one in six (16%) drive more than 20 miles from their home by car every day

86% drive more than 20 miles from home at least once a month

Mobile phone signals

Around a quarter of drivers (24%) have experienced some kind of voice or data signal loss on their phone while driving.

Among those who have experienced an issue, the most likely problems are getting lost (27%), being stuck in avoidable traffic (22%) or being unable to have an important call with a family member (22%)

Things done in a car

When parked up in their car, a third (34%) have eaten a take away meal, while a quarter (24%) have slept in their car (for less than two hours).

One in six (16%) have eaten their breakfast when parked up while one in ten (8%) have done so while driving. 

Parking damage

Around half (46%) of all drivers have experienced a dent of some kind to their car when parked in a car park in the last 12 months.

Most(56%) have not got the damage repaired.  One in five (19%) have repaired the damage themselves (at their own expense) and one in seven (14%) have got the damage repaired by a garage/specialist at their own expense.

Wrong fuel

Upon realising that they were adding the wrong fuel to their car, two-thirds (67%) of those who drive would call their breakdown service provider

Just over one in ten drivers (12%) would talk to the cashier.

Looking forward to 2019

Road capacity and congestion (22%), the price of fuel (20%) and the state of local roads (15%) are seen to be the most important issues affecting drivers in 2019

Of those drivers who would make a resolution about driving, trying to drive more economically comes out on top (26%), followed by trying to walk more (22%) and trying to drive less often (14%)

The vast majority of drivers (94%) are already trying to recycle as much as they can, with around three-quarters already trying to cut down on energy in their home (77%) or cut down on their use of plastics (72%)

Over half of drivers (55%) have no interest in installing solar panels on their home with slightly fewer having no interest in buying an Ultra Low or Zero Emission Vehicle (46%) or cutting down on the amount of red meat they eat (46%)

Winter driving

Among those who do drive to work, around a quarter (26%) believe that roads between home and the nearest main road are unlikely to be treated, but they would give it a go and hope for the best

A quarter (25%) of those who drive to work feel that roads between home and the nearest main road are unlikely to be treated and they wouldn’t use the car until they were cleared

A quarter (24%) of those who drive to work believe that roads between home and the nearest main road are unlikely to be treated, but they would have to drive because they are expected to work regardless of conditions.

Around three-quarters (74%) of drivers make sure there is an ice scraper in the car as autumn turns to winter. 

Motoring terms

Generally, the motoring related terms listed were not that well known.

The best known term was V5c (this is the Vehicle Registration Document) with two in five (43%) confident that they know what it is. 

Only a third (34%) are confident they know what Green Card means - it's the document issued by insurers to prove that your insurance provides the minimum cover in the country you're driving in. Green cards may be required to drive in the EU after Brexit if there's no deal.

Three in ten (29%) are confident they know what AdBlue is.

The other terms we asked about were even less well known:

  • NEDC - stands for New European Driving Cycle and has been the laboratory driving cycle used to measure official fuel consumption and emissions for more than 40 years
  • WLTP - is the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure which replaced NEDC in 2018 and should result in much more realistic official fuel consumption figures
  • CAZ - Cities across the UK are required to implement Clean Air Zones to improve air quality.
  • IDP - An International Driving Permit is an official translation of your driving licence that you have to carry, together with your own licence, when driving in many countries abroad.  IDPs may be required for driving in the EU in future depending on the outcome of Brexit.
Driving abroad

Over half (54%) of drivers have never taking their own vehicle across the Channel as part of a holiday and have no intention of ever doing so

Over a third (36%) of drivers state they are less likely to take their vehicle to mainland Europe in 2019, in light of current Brexit negotiations

November 2018

There were 20,410 to the November survey between 13 and 19 November, 2018. 

Local Offences

When asked the likelihood of a driver being caught and punished for committing different motoring offences, nearly two in five thought driving in a bus lane (37%) or speeding (37%) would be likely (scoring 7-10 on a scale where 1 is no chance at all and 10 is certainly)

Nearly half (48%) feel that in December specifically, a driver who is drink driving in their local area would likely get caught and punished (scoring 7-10) 


Two-thirds of panel members agree that busy car parks (68%) or busy shops (66%) put them off going shopping at Christmas time.  But over half (55%) agree that they enjoy visiting a traditional Christmas market. 

Over a third (35%) intend to use their car on Christmas Day in total with three in ten (30%) expecting to use their car to visit friends/family using main roads or motorways specifically.

Driving to Work

Among those who work in a major city or town (of more than 50,000 people), nearly three in five (57%) drive and park for free at their workplace (compared to 8% who pay for parking at their work). 

One in ten (10%) use public transport without needing to drive or walk/cycle (8%)

Over three in five (62%) of those who drive to work do so as they believe driving is the only practical way of getting to work from their home.


Two-thirds (67%) agree that it is unfair the vehicle’s registered keeper is not able to name the passenger responsible for throwing the litter so that the right person gets the fine.

Only one in five (18%) agree that where litter is branded, the penalty should be imposed on the company itself rather than the individual.

Signs on Major Roads

Nearly three in five (56%) agree that the highway authority does a good job of keeping foliage cut back so that Motorway signs are clearly visible.  

But over half (53%) agree that there are important signs obscured by foliage on major A-roads in their area, while two in five (40%) agree that there are major signs on major A-roads in their area that are so damaged/deteriorated that they are difficult to read.

Car buying

Seven in ten (70%) do not plan to change their car in the next 12 months, with over a third (36%) not planning to change their car in the next five years

Of those who expect to change their car in the next 5 years, the main reasons for changing is that their current car is too old/needs replacing (55%)

Around one in five will change their car as they want a car that’s greener (lower CO2) (19%) or cheaper to run (19%)

Those in London (25%) are significantly more likely than other regions to want to change their current car as they want a greener one (with lower CO2).

When looking at how those changing car in the next 5 years will be looking to finance their next purchase, over a third (35%) have already made the savings for it.  

Looking forward to their future car, those looking to change car in the next 5 years are less likely to be using petrol compared to those using it in their current car (39% compared to 55%), with around one in six (15%) planning to go hybrid in their next car.  The level intending to use diesel (14%) in their next car is also markedly lower than those using it in their current car (42%).  

A small proportion intend to use a plug in hybrid (5%) or go pure electric (3%) in their next car 

October 2018

There were 20,666 responses to the October survey between 16 and 22 October 2018.

Road Condition

When asked about the conditions of road surfaces near to where they live, over half (54%) of respondents rated motorways to be 8-10 on a scale where 0 is terrible and 10 is excellent.

1 in 5 (21%) consider the surfaces of main roads near to where they live to be of a 0-3 standard, while 3 in 10 (28%) say the same of residential roads near to where they live.

Christmas Day

9 in 10 (91%) AA Panel members report that they always or usually eat their main meal on Christmas day at home or at a family member’s home, with 3 in 5 (59%) reporting this is always the case.

Previous/Current Car

1 in 5 (20%) of AA Panel members expect to keep their current car for less than 2 years, and almost half (45%) expect to keep their current car for between 2 and 5 years.

On average, AA Panel members expect to own their current car for almost 5 years (mean 4.88 years).

Just 1 in 10 (11%) owned their previous car for less than 2 years.

On average, AA Panel members owned their previous car for a reported 5 and a half years (mean 5.67 years).

1 in 10 (10%) paid for their previous car with a personal loan or car loan not from a dealer, with a similar proportion (9%) paying this way for their current car. 

Number plate thefts

Almost half (48%) of AA Panel members would assume theft and report to the police if they returned to their car in a public setting to find one of their number plates missing.

4 in 5 (78%) would assume theft and immediately report it to the police if both of their numbers plates were missing.

The Autumn budget

Over 4 in 5 (83%) expected an increase in duty on cigarettes and alcohol in the upcoming Budget more than any other tax or levy mentioned.

Over half (56%) expected an increase in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and 54% on Fuel Duty.

Insurance premium tax

Over three quarters (77%) of AA Panel members agree that making vehicle insurance more expensive will encourage a greater number of people to drive uninsured, with less than 1 in 10 (8%) disagreeing with this statement.


This summer among AA Panel members, 6% report receiving a parking ticket, 3% a speeding ticket and 3% a ticket for driving in a bus lane.

Younger respondents aged 18-24 are significantly more likely than all other age groups to report having received a parking ticket over the summer, 1 in 7 (14%) compared to 1 in 10 (10%) aged 25-34, 1 in 12 (8%) aged 35-44, and 1 in 20 (5%) among respondents aged 45 and over.

Driving Tired

Among respondents who report having previously driven when very tired, the most common circumstances are a long motorway journey (51%), followed by a late finish drive from work (43%) and an early drive to work (26%).

Travelling home from a festival is cited more frequently among younger respondents as a reason for having driven when very tired while respondents aged 65+ are significantly more likely than those in all other age groups to report having driven when very tired due to travelling back from a foreign holiday destination. 

EU Green Card and International Driving Permit

Over a third (36%) agree that having to apply for and carry an IDP would make them less likely to hire a car in Europe, and a similar proportion (37%) agreed that having to apply for an IDP and green card would make them less likely to drive their own car in Europe after Brexit.

Younger respondents are significantly more likely than older respondents to be put off by these requirements.

Greenwich Mean Time

2 in 5 (42%) would like to abandon the current and adopt continuous British Summer Time (GMT +1), so instead it gets light an hour later on Autumn/Winter mornings but stays light for an additional hour in the evenings. Older respondents are the most likely to prefer this option.

Car Snacks

1 in 5 (22%) have no favourite snack when on a long car journey as they do not eat whilst driving.

Among those who did express a preference, 2 in 5 (39%) report mints to be one of their top three, a third (33%) selected boiled sweets, and a quarter (25%) soft sweets.

September 2018

There were 20,569 responses to the September poll between 11 and 17 September 2018.

Motorway Signs – Red ‘X’

93% of AA panel members said that if they saw a red ‘X’ on a gantry over the lane they were driving on a motorway, they would move immediately to an adjacent lane until a further sign gave the all clear. 

Connected Cars

AA panel members are most willing to share the data generated by their car if they need roadside assistance or if their car needs repair.

There is a high level of concern of data protection and privacy among AA panel members. Almost all (95%) are concerned about the possibility of hacking to access their personal data and more than 8 in 10 (84%) are concerned about the possibility of hacking to interfere with their driving.

AA panel members would like to see more regulation around vehicle data usage. Almost all (95%) either ‘slightly’ or ‘strongly’ agree that there is a need for a specific legal framework to protect consumer rights to their vehicle and driving data.

Pavement Parking

94% agree, and 74% strongly agree that some drivers park on the pavement without consideration to how pedestrians, pushchairs and wheelchair users will pass their vehicle.

72% do agree that in some cases, it is necessary to park on the pavement because roads are too narrow, while 28% claim they often park on the pavement because they had no other choice. 

Car Fuel

Currently, 56% of AA panel members use petrol, 41% diesel, and only 2% use either a hybrid or an electric car.

When asked which fuel they expect their next car to use, 35% said petrol, 22% said either hybrid or electric and only 12% said diesel.

Views on Diesel Cars

56% of AA panel members said the changes to government policy surrounding diesels put them off buying a diesel car, with 84% saying the government should provide more certainty around the future of diesel cars.

58% said they are less likely to buy a diesel car now than they were two years ago. 

Reducing Road Deaths

When asked what would be the single most significant contribution to reducing road deaths, 24% of AA panel members chose a wider use of CCTV to capture offences like mobile phone use, tailgating, middle-lane hogging or not wearing a seatbelt. This is the top choice across all ages, genders, social grades and regions. 

False Excuses for Being Late

49% of AA panel members claim they have never lied about the reason for being late to work or a social gathering. 

Among those who have admitted to using false excuses, 32% used the excuse of there being an unusually heavy congestion.

Actions Taken to Mend Potholes

39% of AA panel members reported that some potholes have been repaired but there still seems to be a lot of damage that has been ignored.

16% said some potholes were repaired but roads have started to break up again.

Only 7% said local roads have been extensively and comprehensively repaired in their area, with this being fairly consistent across the country. 

Tiredness Whilst Driving

37% of AA panel members claim they have never driven when very tired, with this claim being significantly stronger amongst females (44%) than males (33%). 

When asked about the last time tiredness affected their driving, 57% said they stopped for a break as soon as they realised they might be too tired to drive.

The vast majority (90%) of AA panel members do not have drowsiness warning system in their car, but over half (52%) would be interested in such a feature on their next car.

August 2018

There were 20,650 responses to the August survey between 14 and 20 August 2018.

Driving Behaviours

AA Panel members believe that driving behaviors are getting worse, with half thinking this true of Overtaking on the inside lane (56%), Tailgating (55%), Speeding (54%), Road rage (53%), Mobile phone usage (52%) and Middle lane hogging (52%).

Leaving the EU

Three quarters (76%) of AA Panel members have concerns about leaving the EU in March 2019 without a deal.

Amongst this portion of respondents the biggest concern, as cited by almost half (46%) of Panel members is fuel prices increasing.

Concern is greatest among younger drivers - 9 in 10 (91%) of respondents aged 18-24 were concerned with at least one of the possible issues raised in the question compared with two thirds (68%) aged 65+.

Insects and car windscreens

Half (50%) agreed that sometimes screenwash and wipers alone are not enough to clear the screen of insects and (46%) that all filling stations should provide the means for customers to clean their windshields.

Only 1 in 8 (13%) believe that insects on the windscreen seem to have been worse this year than normal, more than twice as many AA panel members (28%) believe that there seem to be fewer insects on the windscreen this year compared to previous years. 

Teenage Driving

3 in 5 (62%) AA panel members passed their driving test in their teenage years. 

An additional third (33%) of AA Panellists passed their driving test between the ages of 20 and 30 years old.

Among AA panellists who did not pass their driving test as a teenager, the most common reason cited by 2 in 5 (41%) was a lack of money which either meant they couldn’t afford to run their own car (26%) or couldn’t afford to pay for driving lessons (15%).

Just 1 in 6 (16%) agree that they would be happy not to drive if they had an autonomous car.


A third (32%) of AA Panellists report that the recent heatwave has affected how they have used their car.

1 in 8 (13%) made more leisure trips to take advantage of the weather. 

5% have used their car more because it is too hot to cycle or walk, with 5% having spent more time in their car because their car air conditioning means it is cooler than their home.

Zero Emissions

When thinking about the Government’s goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by the year 2040, the vast majority (84%) agree that car manufacturers offering the right car at the right price is the key to achieving these targets. 

Three quarters of Panel members (77%) agree that their should be a uniform method of accessing charging points, (75%) that all new homes would have a charge point available and (75%) that a scrappage scheme is essential to help drivers who want to switch from an old diesel to a new electric car.

School Policy

1 in 6 (16%) of AA panel members have children of school age in their household. Among these respondents over half (56%) report that there is traffic chaos near the school at dropping off/picking up time.

2 in 5 (42%) respondents with children of school age report that the school actively encourages children to walk to school.

M6 Toll

3 in 10 (28%) AA Panel members have never had the opportunity or the occasion to use the M6 Toll road, with a further 1 in 10 (9%) having never heard of the M6 Toll road.

1 in 10 (11%) decide at the time whether to use the M6 Toll road depending on delays in the area and the same proportion (10%) have used the M6 Toll road occasionally but will usually opt for the M6.

Three quarters (75%) of AA Panel members believe that if the aim is to reduce congestion the M6 Toll should be reduced rather than increased and (74%) that if a motorway is worth building then it should be free for any vehicle to use.

Half (52%) of respondents would be more likely to pay to use the M6 Toll road if they were confident that the delay warning signs were accurate. 

Insurance Data

4 in 5 (79%) AA Panel members think they should be able to control which companies can see the data from their car.

Two thirds (67%) welcome driving data collection by insurers if it leads to better evidence collection in the result of a collision

July 2018

There were 20,115 responses to the July 2018 survey between 17 and 24 July 2018.

Car Type

Almost a third (31%) of AA Panelists drive a petrol car first registered between January 2006 and September 2015. This is most common among younger age groups, with almost half (46%) aged 18-24 and nearly 2 in 5 (37%) aged 25-34 driving such a vehicle.

1 in 7 (15%) drive a petrol car first registered before January 2006. This is highest among 18-24 year olds (22%) and 25-34 year olds (19%).

Summer Car Journeys

7 in 10 (70%) report having previously had a summer day out by car spoiled, the most likely cause being due to delays caused by heavy traffic on the way there (44%) or on the way home (42%).

Almost all AA Panel members (95%) have at some stage been frustrated with other road users in the summer and are most likely to report being frustrated with another road user throwing rubbish out of the window (29%), groups of cyclists (22%) and inconsiderate parking (13%).

Almost all of those surveyed (95%) made at least one form of preparation before undertaking a long car journey in the summer, with the most common preparation filling up their car with fuel, 9 in 10 (88%) reporting that they do this.

7 in 10 (71%) check the tyre pressure on their car or (70%) check the windscreen washer fluid.

Around 6 in 10 (61%) check the engine oil level before a long car journey in the summer.

NHS funding

Among those surveyed, duty on alcohol and tobacco was considered the most acceptable tax for the Chancellor to increase in order to help fund the NHS, with almost a quarter (23%) stating this as their preferred tax option, followed by 1 in 5 (18%) opting for increased national insurance contributions, and 1 in 7 (15%) preferring this increase on income tax. 

New motorway rules

7 in 10 (72%) would support a rule that requires stationary vehicles in congested traffic to pull over, left and right to create an ‘Emergency corridor’ so that emergency services can pass if necessary, with 4 in 10 (42%) strongly supporting the inclusion of this rule in the Highway Code, significantly higher than any other rule tested.

Almost 7 in 10 (68%) would support a rule in the Highway Code that requires ‘drivers in lane one to move out to lane two when passing a junction so that joining traffic can merge more easily’, the same proportion (68%) who support a rule that requires ‘drivers to move over to create a one lane gap (or slow down substantially) when passing stationary breakdown or emergency service vehicles showing amber flashing lights’.

Clean air zones

A third (33%) said they ‘don’t know’ when asked to describe what a Clean Air ZOne (CAZ) was. The most common assumption/understanding - by a quarter (26%) of respondents - is that a Clean Air Zone is an area where some categories of road vehicle (based on size, fuel type or age) must pay an environmental charge before they can enter.

Only 1 in 6 (17%) AA Panel members correctly identify that a CAZ area could include any of the listed criteria given the non-specific Government definition.

Road to Zero

Three quarters (77%) said they would support ‘regulations requiring all new residential development to include electric vehicle charging facilities.

The least popular policies to achieve the Government’s intended zero emissions target are those which negatively impact drivers not switching to lower emission vehicles. So just 1 in 5 (20%) would support ‘charging petrol/diesel vehicles to enter more city centres’,  and a similar proportion (19%) support banning petrol/diesel vehicles from entering city centres’.

Bank Holiday

There is a relatively even split between those planning to drive as part of a trip over the August bank holiday, with 45% definitely or probably driving somewhere in the UK or Europe over the August bank holiday compared to the 55% who are unlikely to drive over the bank holiday weekend.

Car Finance

Only 1 in 8 (13%) AA Panellists report themselves to have a complete understanding (5/5) when it comes to the differences between alternative forms of car finance options such as Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Personal Contract Hire (PCH) and Hire Purchase (HP).

1 in 5 (22%) reporting themselves to have no understanding (0/5) of the differences between these options.

When tested on their understanding, respondents were most accurate in identifying the statement of ‘My credit score has no bearing on my ability to take out car finance’ with two thirds (65%) correctly identifying this as false.

The next statement most likely to be correctly identified was that ‘Multiple failed attempts at online finance applications won’t impact my credit score’ with nearly 3 in 5 (57%) correctly identifying this as false, this is followed by nearly 3 in 5 (56%) correctly identifying that ‘You must make the final balloon payment at the end of a PCP if you want to own the car.’

Respondents in the AB social grade are significantly more likely than those in the other social grades to correctly identify almost all statements whilst those in the DE social grade are the least likely to correctly identify every statement, apart from that ‘You always own the car at the end of a HP deal’.


3 in 5 (59%) AA Panel members have never heard of AdBlue, with 1 in 5 (22%) reporting that their vehicle doesn’t use AdBlue but they know what it is, 1 in 10 (10%) have heard of AdBlue but without any idea what it is. Just 4% have a vehicle which uses AdBlue and top it up themselves when necessary.

Meanwhile two thirds (65%) of respondents aged 65 and over report never having previously heard of AdBlue, significantly more than all other age groups.

Two thirds (67%) of AA Panel members in London have never previously heard of AdBlue, significantly more than those in all other regions, with respondents in the North East being the most likely to have an awareness with just over half (53%) not having previously heard of AdBlue.

Handheld Mobile

Just over a third (35%) of respondents believe that incidents of other drivers using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel has increased over the last 12 months, a quarter (25%) believe this has become less common, while 2 in 5 (38%) think this has remained unchanged over the last 12 months.

AA Panel members are most likely to believe the best deterrent to prevent drivers being caught whilst using a handheld mobile phone would be police powers to seize and destroy an offenders mobile phone at the roadside (80%), followed by police powers to confiscate the offenders mobile phone for a month (71%).

Interestingly respondents in the C2 (29%) and DE (32%) social grades are significantly more likely than those in the AB (25%) and C1 (24%) social grades to consider it much more of a deterrent to name and shame those caught committing a driving offence.


June 2018

There were 10293 responses to the June survey between 13 and 20 June 2018.


2 in 5 (40%) live in the town outskirts, 3 in 10 (28%) live in villages, 1 in 5 (20%) in City suburbs, 5% live in town centres, 5% hamlets or dwellings and 3% in city centres.

Younger respondents are more likely to be living in city centres 1 in 10 (9%) aged 18-24 and (9%) aged 25-34.

Electric vehicles

A quarter (26%) expect to swap over to an Electric Vehicle by 2040 when the sale of new petrol/diesel cars is banned, a further quarter (25%) expect to change their vehicle to electric between 5 and 10 years from now and 1 in 10 (8%) between 2 and 5 years from now.

Among those who do not own an Electric Vehicle, 4 in 5 (83%) are concerned about the high purchase price and (80%) the availability of public charging stations and (79%) concerned with a lack of rapid charging points on motorways for long distance journeys.

Younger respondents are significantly less likely to be concerned about the longer term costs of owning an Electric Vehicle, with less than 3 in 5 aged 18-24 (56%) and 25-34 (58%) compared to two thirds (67%) aged 35-44 and 7 in 10 aged (69% aged 45-54; 72% aged 55-64; 69% aged 65+) concerned with the length of time it would take to offset the high purchase price against the running costs.

Respondents in Scotland (64%), Northern Ireland (63%) and Yorkshire & Humberside (62%) are the most likely to be concerned about a limited driving range for their day-today needs, respondents in Scotland being significantly more likely than average to feel this way.

The main factors which would convince AA Panellists to purchase an Electric Vehicle are (43%) requiring a ‘real world’ driving range of at least 250 miles on a single charge as one of their top three priorities, followed by a third (34%) citing Electric Vehicles costing the same (or less) than an equivalent petrol or diesel car as a top three priority and a quarter (27%) requiring a lot more public charging points available.

Future of Driving

AA Panellists in London are significantly more likely to think a time will come when they choose not to own a vehicle, with 2 in 5 (41%) anticipating this time will come in the next 20 years.

Cost increases

9 in 10 AA Panel members report their personal/family budget to be impacted by recent increases to petrol or dieses pump prices (91%), domestic energy costs (89%), grocery and other high street prices (88%), car and/or household insurance (87%).

Half (49%) of AA Panelists report their persona/family budget to have been significantly impacted by the increase in petrol and diesel pump prices, with 2 in 5 (43%) reporting a slight impact and 1 in 10 (8%) reporting no impact.

Seasonal Problems

9 in 10 (88%) AA Panel members report potholes as a problem on the roads in their area at this time of year, with an overall two thirds (64%) considering potholes to be a big problem.

Many of the issues cited to be a problem relate to limited sight due to overgrown foliage, with 2 in 5 (42%) citing a problem in their local area with shrubs or long grass blocking sight-lines at junctions, (40%) unkempt verges with long grass, with a third (35%) noting instructions or warning signs obscured by foliage and (35%) direction signs obscured by foliage.

Personal Injury

Nearly two thirds (63%) of respondents have been contacted by a personal injury claim firm within the last 12 months.

Despite this, just 1 in 10 (8%) of AA Panel members have been involved in a ‘no fault’ incident within the last 12 months.

Among those contacted in regards to a ‘no fault’ personal injury claim in the last 12 months, a third (35%) report being contacted 2-4 times, a quarter (24%) contacted 5-9 times and 3 in 10 (29%) report being contacted a staggering 10 times or more within the last 12 months.

Nearly all respondents (95%) agree that the Government should take steps to ban cold calls from personal injury claim firms offering to help to ‘claim for money owed to me’.

Buying a Used Car

Among those who have purchased a used car outright and report having suffered monetary issues as a consequence, nearly half (46%) have had to dip into savings set aside for another cause. 3 in 10 (29%) said that purchasing the car left them without a rainy day fund and (28%) that buying the car meant having to cut back on other things such as days/evenings out, gym membership, luxuries etc. and for 1 in 5 (20%) respondents buying their used car outright meant not taking a holiday.

Driving Abroad

Among those who would have any concerns about driving their own vehicle abroard, the most common concern among two thirds (67%) would be inadvertently breaking the local rules of the road and getting fined, well over half (56%) would worry about breaking down and having to get help. 



May 2018

There were 16328 responses to the May survey between 17 and 24 May 2018

Unplanned Repairs

A third of drivers (33%) would most likely use money from their savings to pay for unplanned repairs on their vehicle if the cost was around £500. 

1 in 5 (22%) would borrow money with the majority of these most likely to put the unplanned repairs on their credit card and pay it off over a period of time (18%).

Connected services

The most beneficial information to remotely access about their vehicle is early notifications on potential vehicle faults with two thirds (66%) selecting this as one of their top three. This view is significantly more common among younger drivers (74%).

Things left in the Car

4 in 5 (81%) report regularly leaving any item in their car, with the most likely item left by more than half of respondents (55%) being sunglasses.

1 in 5 (19%) AA Panel Members regularly leave food and drink packaging in their car, this is more frequent among females (25%) compared to males (16%).

MOT Guidelines

1 in 20 (5%) incorrectly believe that it's still ok to drive a car with any 'dangerous' failures if there's still time left on the old MOT.


Middle aged respondents are the most likely to have used finance provided by a dealer when purchasing a car, 2 in 5 (42%) aged 35-64 having previously done so compared to just a quarter (25%) aged 18-24.

Among those who have previously purchased a car using finance, 6 in 10 (61%) drivers report being happy with the finance provided.

1 in 10 (9%) AA Panel Members report that they felt pressured into going with the dealer for finance and 1 in 14 (7%) were not aware they could opt for finance that wasn’t provided by the dealer.

Mainland Europe

7 in 10 (69%) would consider taking their car to mainline Europe in the future. Of these respondents, the most  preferable way to get to get their was Eurotunnel (29%), closely followed by whichever option is cheapest (27%).Whilst two thirds (64%) of males feel confident about driving in Europe only 2 in 5 (38%) of females do. 

The youngest drivers are least likely to feel confident about driving in Europe with just 1 in 5 (20%) aged 18-24 agreeing they would feel confident compared to 3 in 5 (60%) aged 55-64 and two thirds (67%) aged 65 and over.

Holiday Preparations

AA Panel Members perceive their electronic devices (excluding camera) as the most expensive items brought with them on holiday, the average overall value of £395. However, 1 in 5 (21%) report not taking any electronic devices with them when they go on holiday. 

Whilst 2 in 5 (39%) wouldn’t bring any jewellery on holiday, of those who do the total value of this jewellery is estimated to be £269.

Before going on holiday a quarter of Panellists (26%) report shopping around for the cheapest price when purchasing travel insurance, (25%) buy single trip cover, (25%) carefully check over the level of cover provided and (23%) usually take out an annual policy covering multiple trips.

Local footpaths

Three quarters (74%) of AA Panel Members regularly come across cars parked partly or fully on the pavement when walking around their local area, with a 7 in 10 (73%) encountering uneven footpaths and litter (72%).

Almost 2 in 3 (64%) regularly come across overgrown trees/hedges encroaching onto footpaths when walking around their local area.

6 in 10 (58%) respondents usually park their main car on their driveway, with 1 in 7 (14%) leaving their car on the street outside their home and 1 in 8 (12%) usually parking their main car in the garage next to their home.

Electric vehicles

6 in 10 (58%) would, if they owned an Electric Vehicle (EV), find slow charging their vehicle overnight [6-10 hours full charge] to be in the top 3 most useful way of charging their vehicle. 

Meanwhile 3 in 10 (31%) respondents cite rapid charging at petrol stations [around 30 minutes for an 80% charge] as one of their top 3 preferences, with a similar amount (30%) opting for rapid charging at motorway service stations.

A quarter (27%) of respondents would opt for fast charging at shopping centres, sports centre, supermarkets and town centre car parks as their preference [3-4 hours for a full charge].

Iconic Cars

A quarter (26%) of AA Panellists consider the Aston Martin DB5 from the film Goldfinger to be the most iconic car of TV and film, this is followed in second place by Mini Cooper (12%) from the Italian Job and in third by the DeLorean DMC-12 (8%) from Back to the Future.


Whilst 85% agreed that they could not remember the road surfaces ever being as bad as they are now, 82% agreed that new  potholes seem to be appearing as fast as the council can repair them and 76% agreeing both with the statements that there is little evidence that potholes are being repaired and that the council have repaired a few potholes but it feels like some bad ones have been ignored.


April 2018

There were 17,503 responses to the April survey between 17 and 24 April 2018.

Distraction whilst Driving

Half of drivers (49%) report regularly thinking about arriving on time whilst driving, with a third (34%) thinking about work and a quarter (25%) thinking about the future.

3 in 10 (30%) report thinking only about driving/navigation whilst driving.

Vehicle Financing

Nearly half (47%) of drivers have never purchased a car on car finance, of the remainder, 3 in 10 (30%) chose their finance option within 3 hours, with 1 in 10 (10%) taking longer than 48 hours to successfully decide on their car financing option.

When it comes to choosing a car, the largest proportion of respondents (21%) are taking more than 48 hours to choose the car itself, however the second largest proportion (11%) are choosing their car in between 1 hour and 3 hours.

Road safety

The vast majority (69%) of AA panel members believe road and junction improvements to remove accident black spots would be the most effective method of making the  UK’s road safer.

A third (32%) of AA panellists strongly support the notion of the motorway speed limit being raised to 80mph but enforced.

Half of panellists (50%) support limiting rural single carriageway roads from 60mph to 50mph and (48%) introducing more 20mph limits in urban and residential areas.

As many Londoners are in support of such a measure to introduce more 20mph speed limits in urban and residential areas (41%) as are opposed (41%), the opposition to such a measure being significantly more than any other region in the UK.

The reaction towards introducing compulsory in-car devices preventing drivers exceeding the speed limit at any time is split fairly evenly, with 2 in 5 (42%) believing this to be acceptable and slightly more respondents (46%) believing this to be unacceptable.

Driving Taxes

More respondents (44%) support the idea a taxation system based on when, where and how far we travel compared to the third (35%) who prefer the current system of motoring taxes being paid for by a combination of Fuel Duty and Vehicle Tax.

Just 1 in 10 (11%) of respondents would trust the Government to deliver on a policy of promised reductions on Fuel Duty and Vehicle Tax on the introduction of road pricing based on when, where and how far people travel by car.

An astonishing 9 in 10 (88%) of respondents believe that the condition of local roads in their area have deteriorated in the last 10 years, with two thirds (67%) reporting them to have deteriorated considerably.

Car importance

A remarkable 3 in 5 (61%) respondents don’t use public transport more frequently than once or twice a year.

In London, half of respondents (52%) use public transport as an alternative to driving at least once a week.

When it comes to cycling, 86% don’t use a bicycle as an alternative to driving more frequently than once or twice a year.

3 in 5 (60%) respondents disagree that driving standards have improved since they started driving.

3 in 5 (61%) cite doing the weekly shop as in the top 3 most important uses for their car and (60%) cite visiting friends and relatives.

Whilst less than half (46%) note getting to work as in the top 3 most important uses, nearly 2 in 5 (37%) cite this as their most important use for their car, more than double any other use.

Worst thing about Driving

When asked what one factor is the worst thing about driving today, the most commonly selected factor was the behaviour of other drivers (44%), followed by the amount of traffic (31%), then lack of parking (9%).

Replacement Car

Apart from price and size, reliability (45%) is the biggest influence on drivers when deciding to choose a replacement car, followed by fuel economy (22%), then safety (10%) and style (10%).

Savings & Cutbacks

The majority (62%) of drivers have neither cut back on other areas of spend or made a conscious decision on travelling less by car due to the current price of petrol/diesel. 

Whilst just over 1 in 7 (15%) report having made a conscious decision to travel less by car due to the current price of petrol/diesel, interestingly a higher proportion (17%) of respondents aged 65+ have made this conscious decision to drive less due to high petrol/diesel prices, more than any other age group. 

March 2018

There were 20,496 responses to the March survey between 13 and 19 March 2018. 

The ‘Beast from the East’

Respondents in the South West region of the UK were most likely to experience any negative impact (82%) compared to those in the North West (50%).

Nearly half of respondents decided not to use their car because of the bad forecast (44%).

Just over a third of respondents in the South West and Scotland (36%) were likely not to use the local roads because they were impassable compared to the average of (21%), whilst only 9% of respondents in London did not use the roads because they were impassable.

Nearly one in ten respondents (9%) said they were intimidated by another vehicle following them whilst they were driving slowly in slippery conditions. 

Of those that did travel, 4% got stuck for more than an hour on a journey of less than 50 miles.

Road condition

Only one in ten respondents (10%) score the condition of their residential streets as high quality, while more than two fifths (42%) of panellists would score their residential streets as poor quality.

Over a quarter of respondents (28%) would score the condition of the road surfaces of their local main roads as poor.

Motorways score much higher than other types of roads with over two fifths (41%) scoring the condition of the road surface of their local motorways as high. 

Just over a third of respondents (35%) would rate levels of congestion on the residential streets near where they live as good, while only a fifth (20%) say that congestion levels are good on the main roads near where they live. 

Similarly, only a fifth (19%) of respondents rate congestion levels as good on the trunk roads near where they live.

London is the worst performing region with just over a tenth (12%) saying congestion levels are good.

Easter travel plans

Four fifths (81%) of respondents said they will be doing some kind of driving over Easter (from Good Friday to Easter Monday). 

Nearly two fifths (37%) of panellists planned to be driving to visit friends or relatives over Easter Weekend. 

Driving test nerves

Of all respondents who drive, a quarter (25%) took a measure to try and calm their nerves before a practical driving test.

A third (33%) of women took any measure compared to only a fifth (21%) of men.

Going for a long drive or lesson beforehand to practice is the most popular measure, with a fifth (20%) of respondents saying they did this before a test.

Car importance

Nearly two thirds (63%) of respondents said that they would be lost without their car, more women (70%) say they would be lost without their car than men (59%). 

A fifth of panellists (20%) said they had given their car a name. This was more common in women then in men (30% vs 14%).

Local elections

Panellist were asked about which three local policy areas were most important to them.

Nearly half (48%) responded that Health and Social Care was among the most important to them.

Again, nearly half (47%) said that transport and road maintenance was among the most important to them. 

A quarter of respondents (25%) said policing was important to them and a fifth (20%) had the opinion that housing and housing development planning was among the most important.

Hospital parking

The majority of respondents (94%) said that hospital car parking should be free for patients with a long term medical condition required to make frequent trips.

Over nine in ten (92%) said that Hospital parking should be free for front-line medical staff.

On the other hand, four fifths (79%) felt that free parking at hospitals could be open to abuse from people not visiting the hospital. 

Car crime

Nearly all respondents (96%) say that they always lock or immobilise their car when they leave it, and over three quarters (76%) say they are constantly aware of the threat of car
crime and always take measures to reduce the risk of theft.

Nearly half (49%) of respondents say they would ignore a car alarm if they hear one anywhere away from home,  while over a third (36%) would ignore one if they heard an alarm in their street.

A tenth (10%) of respondents believe that modern cars are so secure you don’t need to worry about theft. 

Just short of a tenth (9%) of panellists sometimes leave personal belongings that could have value clearly visible when they park.

Driving with children

Just over one quarter of respondents (27%) have taken some kind of measure to try and keep a child under ten entertained on a long car journey. 

Among those who have made a long car journey with children under 10, the most common measure taken to keep them entertained was talking (65%).

Playing ‘traditional’ car games was the second most popular action taken with half (51%) of respondents taking that action.

Using sweets or snacks, and singing along to the radio/pop music were both also popular techniques (both 48%).

Learners on motorways

Well over half of respondents (56%) said they drove on a motorway soon after passing their driving test.

Still, over half of respondents (54%) said they would have liked an opportunity to have a motorway lesson before their driving test.

A third of respondents (33%) believe that an opportunity to have a motorway lesson before their driving test would have made them a safer driver.

Over a quarter of panelists (27%) said they felt scared the first time they went on the motorway after passing their driving test. 

Only two thirds of respondents (66%) said they felt confident when driving on motorways after passing their test while over three quarters of respondents (77%) said the behaviour of other drivers e.g. tailgating, speeding etc. made them feel nervous when driving on the motorway.

February 2018

There were 21341 responses to the February motoring panel survey between 13 and 19 February 2018.

Dash cams

One in five (20%) panel members own a Dash Cam, with considerably more men (24%) than women (10%) owning a dash cam.

Driving offences

Nearly nine out of 10 panel members have seen other drives exceed the speed limit (87%) with half (50%) seeing another driver commit the offence on most journeys they take.

Being a passenger of a speeding vehicle is the second most witnessed offence with 71% of panel members admitting to being in a speeding vehicle driven by someone else.

Of the panel members surveyed 26% had been a passenger of a driver who was using their mobile phone, however 19% of these offences have only been witnessed once or twice. 

MOT test

To those whom it applied, three quarters (75%) of panel members say their car passes its MOT without trouble.

Forgetting that the MOT is due is an issue for some panel members with 14% saying they forgot about the MOT.

Road condition

Over nine in ten (92%) are concerned that the condition of the road could damage their vehicle.

The condition of the roads is also an issue in terms of safety; 85% of panel members are concerned about their and other road users’ safety. 

Comparing road conditions to that of mainland Western Europe, half of men (50%) believe that road conditions in the UK are worse.

Just over one in ten (12%) panel members were reluctant to go on long journeys due to the condition of the roads. 

Running out of fuel

Over one third of drivers (36%) would be willing to make a short journey to work or local shops on local roads with the low fuel light on.

One in ten respondents (10%) are willing to take longer journeys of 50 miles or more with the low fuel light on if they knew they would pass a fuel station within 10 miles.

Of the 21% of panel members who have run out of fuel, one third (35%) blame the cars faulty fuel gauge, 16% blamed an unfamiliar car and 16% blamed a lack of familiarity with the area. 

Mobile devices

When thinking about hand held devices such as phone/smart phones and driving, 99% of panel members consider it dangerous to use a hand held mobile device whilst driving.

But 98% of respondents say they have seen other drivers using a mobile device whilst driving with nearly half (48%) saying they see this occur ‘often’.

Vehicle safety features

Over a quarter (27%) of panel members agree their current car probably has safety features on it that they don’t know are there.

Panel members believe that any new worthwhile safety features should be fitted as standard to all new cars with 88% agreeing that this should be the case. 

Nearly half of panel members (46%) wish they had a better understanding about existing safety technologies.


Three quarters (75%) of respondents never cycle.

8% describe themselves as cycling at least once a week, with men (10%) more likely than women (4%) to do so.

Areas perceived as most dangerous by respondents for cycling are main roads, roundabouts and junctions without traffic lights (2%, 2%, and 3% respectively) with very low amounts of respondents feeling safe.

Motorway congestion

The most popular response (27%) to the challenge of tackling motorway congestion was to invest in public transport to ease demand on the motorways. 

The next most popular solution was to invest in non-motorway routes (19%).

By far the least popular option is that of providing an incentive to use motorways at off peak times by charging road users accordingly, only 6% of panel members would favour this option.


When questioned about hotel booking and selection the key finding was that respondents believe that employees that are well looked after provide an improved guest experience (84%).

78% of respondents agree that they would be put off a particular chain if staff were treated poorly.

Mobile phone signal loss

In a modern digital world mobile signal and 3/4G has become a commodity and is often taken for granted, however, 47% of panel members say they experience either a loss of voice signal or mobile data (3/4G) signal whilst driving or being a passenger on a motorway or main road.

Nearly one fifth (17%) of panel members said they have not been able to either make or take an important family call due to loss of signal.

January 2018

There were 17,024 responses from AA members to the January survey between 16 and 23 January 2018.

Automated vehicles

Seven in ten (71%) panel members claim they are familiar with the concept of automated vehicles.

When it comes to trust in automated vehicles, panel members are less sure with just under a quarter saying they would trust a vehicle to drive itself while they were in it (23%).

The biggest perceived benefit of automated vehicles is their potential to help the elderly or disabled have improved access to mobility with six in ten (61%) thinking this would be beneficial.

When asked about what would concern them about automated vehicles respondents showed highest levels of concern over the possibility of situations arising that weren’t anticipated by software programmers (87%).

Road maintenance

A large number of panel members think that maintenance of local roads is overlooked in favour of maintenance of motorways and major roads (72%), however only 27% agree that maintaining these larger roads is much more important than maintaining local roads.

Only one in seven (15%) agree that their local roads are maintained to a high standard.

In the last two years, around two fifths (41%) of respondents have experienced some kind of damage to their vehicle due to a pothole in the road.

Future of vehicle automation

Of the driverless features available on cars, panel members are most likely to want Adaptive cruise control (58%), Automatic emergency braking (57%) and Lane departure warnings (57%).

One in ten (10%) panel members believe vehicles with Level 3 Conditionally automated features where hands can be taken off the wheel on the motorway, will be available to purchase within the next 2 years, with 15% believing it will take more than 10 years before such vehicles are commercially available to purchase.

When it comes to Level 5: Fully Automated where driver intervention is not needed, just 3% of Panel members believe a vehicle of this description will be available for purchase within the next 2 years.

Life skills

Two fifths (39%) of panel members consider having children to be the most valuable life experience.

One in ten (10%) consider learning to drive to be the most valuable life experience.

New car preferences

The AA asked its panel members what the most important considerations were for them why buying a car. The top two responses rated as being among the most important by around half of respondents were comfort (50%) and safety features (48%).

The third most important consideration is the car’s carbon footprint with just over a quarter (27%) citing this among the top things they consider.

Car servicing

Of those who have visited a garage for a service in the last two years, two fifths (39%) said they could have got work done cheaper elsewhere but paid more to go to a garage they trust.

Just under one in ten (8%) said they thought they’d been overcharged, however one in ten (10%) admit they have no idea how much a service should cost.

Road safety

Excluding those who said they didn’t know, only a fifth (19%) of respondents think that road safety in the area they live has got better over the past seven years. Around two fifths (39%) think it has got worse or stayed the same (42%).

When asked what the biggest road safety priority in their area was, a quarter (25%) of panel members rated poor driving standards as top. This was followed by drivers using mobile phones (19%) and excessive speed (17%).

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