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aa-populus driver poll 2019

Highlights from our 2019 Driver Poll surveys

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

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

Motorway angle shot

September 2019

There were 15,152 responses to the September 2019 survey between 17 and 25 Sept 2019.

Emergency Refuge Areas

Over 80% of members think Emergency Refuge Areas (ERA’s) on ‘smart motorways’ should be longer and most feel they should be a lot closer together, with a high percentage feeling they would be less likely to attempt to reach the ERA if they couldn’t see it.

Car insurance

95% of members have their own insurance rather than being a named driver. The average cost of car insurance was £381.82 across all age groups, with those living in London paying most. A quarter of respondents paid between £201 and £300 for their car insurance.

Home insurance

Most AA members polled said that they had buildings and contents insurance, with the average premium being £284.23

Electric Vehicles

One quarter of those surveyed said they knew someone with an electric vehicle (full EV, plug in hybrid, regenerative hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell). Only 1% of members expressed a desire to purchase an EV within the next 12 months. The most popular option of EV was a plug-in hybrid, followed by regenerative hybrid, full EV and hydrogen fuel cell. 41% of respondents agreed the number of models for sale was better. 40% say the vehicles range had improved with 16% feeling the incentives offered to buy an EV had worsened.

Driverless Cars

The main concerns about driverless cars were an increase in accident rates, moral decisions being left for manufacturers and difficulty attributing responsibility for accidents.

Last vehicle purchase

29% of AA members polled bought their last car when it was less than three years old with roughly a quarter buying new and a quarter buying a car that was 5 years old or more. Younger drivers are most likely to buy a used car.


August 2019

There were 18,278 responses to the August 2019 survey between 13 and 19 August 2019.

Car ownership

44% of members said they would always own a car, despite the growth of ride-hailing apps/car sharing.

1 in 5 members imagine they might choose not to own a car 10-20 years from now.

Verges

Most members would like to see grass verges converted to roadside meadows and the almost two thirds thought that these wouldn’t be a distraction.

79% of participants would like to see a mix of grass and wild flowers and 74% would like grass verges to grow longer but be cut back towards the roads edge and at junctions.

Insurance

Most participants (86%) would expect their comprehensive insurance to cover them in a council owned car park. A similar number would expect to be insured in fuel station forecourt with 74% believing their cover would extend to roadways within a caravan or holiday park.

Mobility scooters, electric scooters, Segways and electric skateboards were among the top vehicles members thought ought to be insured in a similar way to cars.

Smart Motorways

When asked what road sign name should be given to “lay-bys” on motorways, the majority of members (41%) preferred the term “Emergency Breakdown Area”, whereas 1 in 5 thought “Emergency Refuge Area” was a better name.

The number of participants who feel completely safe driving on a motorway drops sharply where there is no hard shoulder, with people feeling least safe where the emergency refuge areas are further apart.

When faced with an emergency situation, such as a puncture, most of our members would feel safest where there was a continuous hard shoulder, with over 50% feeling extremely nervous about slowing down and driving in the hope of reaching an emergency refuge area within 1.5 miles.

Graduated Driving Licence

The majority of participants agreed that stricter rules should be introduced for young/learner drivers and that road safety should be added to the national curriculum.

When asked if new drivers should be restricted from carrying young passengers in the first year after passing their driving test, most thought it would have been more difficult getting to and from work, with the highest number of members agreeing to this in the 18-24 year old age bracket.

Breakdowns

Over 70% of those polled had called their breakdown cover provider when broken down on a motorway, but less than half of respondents had ever broken down on a motorway.

Basic checks

Almost all of our members claimed to be able to perform basic checks such as opening the bonnet, topping up washer fluid and checking tyre pressures.

Driving to A&E

Just over a quarter of members have used their car to visit A&E in the last 12 months with the most likely reasons being to take either themselves, a partner or relative. 26% of respodants had never used their car to visit A&E.


July2019

There were 17,782 responses to the July 2019 survey between 16 and 23 July 2019.

Your next car

The majority plan to change their car in 1 to 2 years’ (45%) time and they expect to buy a car that’s ‘nearly new’ (16%).

Currently, members are more likely to own a petrol car (56%) vs a diesel car (42%).

Londoners are more likely to own a hybrid (3%) than any other region.

Among members who expect to change their car in the next two years, the main reason is because they feel their current car is too old or needs replacing (50%).

We then asked those who plan to change their car in the next 2 years, how much they would expect to spend on their next car. Almost a quarter (24%) claimed they would spend between £5,000 and £10,000.

The majority of respondents (42%) said they would be using their savings to fund the purchase of their next car.

The four most important features of a 'next' car were being reliable (99%), having safe features such as airbags (92%), being comfortable (90%) and enjoyable to drive (85%).

Car Finance/PCP

Overall, cash was the most used method (82%) to purchase a car followed by a personal loan (33%). Of those who used a personal loan, 45-54’s year olds were the most likely age group to do so (44%).

64% agree that 'buying a used car is important to me because it means I can avoid ‘wasting’ money on depreciation (loss of value) from new’. 

49% agree that ‘buying second hand is the only way I can afford to run a car’, while 46% say that ‘it doesn't matter how old my car is as long as it's cheap to own and run’.

Bank holiday travel

14% have already planned to drive somewhere in the UK over the August Bank Holiday and over a quarter (27%) say they are not sure and will decide last minute but they will probably drive.

Roadkill 

Badgers (51%) and Foxes (48%) were the most seen animals, while 5% claimed that they hadn’t seen any roadkill in the last twelve months.

Respondents living in South West (72%), East Midlands (65%) and Northern Ireland (65%) were more likely to have seen a badger in the last 12 months in comparison to other regions.

 


June 2019

There were 20,086 responses to the June survey between 11 and 17 June 2019. 

Summer driving

Filling up fuel (90%), checking tyre pressures (76%) and checking windscreen washer liquid (76%) are the top 3 preparations made ahead of a long car journey in the summer. 

54% of drivers overall had days out by car affected by delays on the way to their destination caused by traffic. This was mainly from the South East (60%), in comparison to Scotland (42%) being the lowest. Delays back home were faced by 51% of panel members.

Asked about things that drivers do to keep their children under 10 entertained, the most common activities are talking (18%), playing ‘traditional’ car games (15%) and providing sweets or snacks (15%).

The most common things done to make sure respondents can find their cars at the end of an event are looking for a memorable landmark at the end of the row they’ve parked their cars in (33%) or for a landmark beyond the car so they can aim for it when they return (18%).

Speed Cameras and Courses

83% find it acceptable for police to use speed cameras at the side of the road to identify vehicles involved in speeding offences.

Acceptability in Scotland (86%) is higher compared to any other region in the UK.

In total, 12% have attended a speed awareness course in the last three years.  Among those who have done a speed awareness course, 81% would recommend attending a course to anyone else given an opportunity. 

80% agreed that following the course they are now more aware of their speed, and two-thirds (66%) think that they are generally a safer driver following the course.

Local Road Issues in Summer

81% of AA members claim that potholes needing to be filled are a problem on roads in their area at this time of year.

Shrubs or long grass blocking sight-lines at junctions (40%) was the second most frequently cited local problem.

Pet Hates

25% of panel members found tailgating to be the most irritating behaviors of drivers on the road, closely followed by 24% of panel members being irritated by drivers talking on the mobile phone while driving.

Dash Cams and Mobile Footage

24% of respondents already currently own a dash cam, whilst an additional 18% are seriously considering buying one. 

A large proportion of drivers (70%) agree that any driver/rider prosecuted because of video footage (which shows they were at fault) recorded by another road user deserves all the punishment given to them. Whilst 69% agree that all police forces should facilitate the submission of video evidence from dashcams and mobile phones.

Car insurance

Almost all panel members (97%) claimed they were insured. Of which, 94% claimed they had their own insurance. Over three-quarters (78%) say that the insurance policy is with the same car as last year.

On average, panel members paid £385 for their annual insurance.

Home insurance

Overall, 86% of participants claimed they had a policy for home insurance. The most popular type being combined buildings and contents at 73%, followed by contents only at 11% and buildings only at 2%.

On average, panel members pay £281 for their home insurance. 


May 2019

There were 18,200 responses to the May survey between 14 and 21 May 2019. 

Insurance

Overall, picking a brand/company I know of and trust (40%) and getting the cheapest price (38%) were the top two most important factors when choosing motor insurance.
For the younger age groups (18-24s), getting a cheaper price was most important (66%).

Results were similar for home insurance, with over a third (37%) agreeing that picking a brand/company they know and trust is most important, and 26% saying that the cheapest price is most important.

Paying monthly instalments for insurance was favoured more when buying home insurance (35%) in comparison to car insurance (27%).

In the event of a fire and with the knowledge that everyone in their household was safely outside the property and they already had their phone, wallet and keys with them, over a third (36%) claim they would save PC/Laptop/Tablet and a third would save a photo album.

Pavement Parking

Overall, 92% agree that some drivers park on the pavement without consideration to how pedestrians, pushchairs and wheelchair users will pass their vehicle. 90% agree in London where pavement parking is illegal, unless signed.

More than two thirds (72%) agree that in some cases, it is necessary to park on the pavement because roads are too narrow.

And a similar proportion (68%) agree that pavement parking should only be allowed where it is clearly signed and a marked section of the pavement is identified for parking 

Used car dealers

Almost half (49%) said they would search online and then only visit dealers they knew had a specific car for sale that they were interested in. Men (51%) were more like to do this than women (44%).

A third of women (33%) said they would have a good idea of the size/type of car they wanted but not the make/model and then would visit one or more dealers to see what's available first.

Asked what would most put them off visiting or buying from a used car dealer in the area where they live, the top two things were having a reputation for pushy sales tactics (19%) and having negative reviews online (18%).

Vehicle recalls

3 in 4 respondents (75%) claim they are familiar with the principle of vehicle safety recalls, and over half (56%) strongly agree that “cars are technically complex so it's understandable that defects occasionally arise - the most important thing is that they are rectified quickly”.

Half (51%) strongly agree “A vehicle safety recall is a sign of a responsible manufacturer trying to do right by their customers”.

Worryingly, 6% of AA members would ignore a letter notifying them of a recall action affecting a vehicle they were about to sell.

Motorway lighting

61% overall agree that good street lighting is essential at motorway junctions..

Around 1 in 5 (22%) say that they feel less safe driving on a motorway without streetlights.

The same proportion (22%) agree that reducing unnecessary use of streetlighting on motorways is important to help meet our climate change (CO2 reduction) objectives.

Women are significantly more likely to feel less safe driving on a motorway without streetlights (28%) vs men (19%). 


April 2019

There were 19,350 responses to the April survey between 16 and 24 April 2019.

Emissions

Overall, almost half of members (45%) claim they are most familiar with the motoring term ‘Euro Emissions Standard’ followed by Euro NCAP (26% aware) and Euro 6 (21% aware)

7 in 10 members agreed (71%) that they would be concerned if independent tests showed that the Euro 6 diesel they were thinking of buying was much more polluting than other Euro 6 diesels.

In regards to how members feel towards the statement 'As long as the car meets the official Euro Emissions standard, Independent emissions testing is irrelevant' views are quite split with 39% disagreeing and 28% agreeing.

Disabled Parking

Half (50%) of respondents claim they have never parked on double yellow lines, or in a residents' parking bay, family and child bay, disabled bay, or electric vehicle charging bay unless entitled to.

A third (34%) have parked on double yellow lines

7 in 10 Blue Badge holders, state it is sometimes hard for them to find a disabled parking bay when they need one, with  67% of blue badge holders, agreeing that disabled parking bays are often used by those who aren't entitled to park in them.

90% of members agree that town centres/high streets should provide disabled parking bays and 85% agree that shops with their own parking should also provide disabled parking bays.

Electric Cars

Asked to what extent they agree or disagree with possible regulatory ideas that could be introduced to encourage the take-up of more plug-in vehicles, the most popular were 

  1. If EV charge points do default to charging at off-peak times, drivers should be able to override the default and start charging immediately (75% agree)
  2. New-build homes with off-street (i.e. driveway) parking must have an EV charging point installed as standard (68% agree)
  3. New-build homes with allocated parking not directly adjacent (e.g. communal parking area) must have an EV charging point installed as standard (65% agree)
Car buying sight unseen

Three quarters of members (74%) have never bought a car without seeing it in person first. 

A quarter of members (24%) said they had bought a car without seeing it in person first and 5% claim they would consider doing this in the future.

Asked what would make them more or less likely to buy a car without seeing it first, the most popular choice was, no charge for returning the car if I decide to cancel (53%)

Home improvements

Asked which home improvements they expect to carry out or appoint contractors to carry out this year, painting and decorating one or more rooms was the top job to be carried out, with 4 in 10 expecting to do so.

This was followed by renovating/ redesigning the garden (15%) and replacing an existing bathroom or en-suite (10%). 

Roads policing

52% agree that Highway England traffic officers should be given more powers to enforce motoring offences.

Only 27% agree that there is a visible police presence on motorways in the area where they live, while only 14% agree that roads can be policed effectively by cameras alone. 

Members are significantly more likely to agree than disagree that there are not enough dedicated traffic police on all type of road for example on rural roads 59% say there aren't enough and only 8% say there are enough.

Driving in France

Over half (53%) of all members said they do not and won’t be driving in France this year. 

A third of members (33%) claim they have driven in France before but have no plans to do so this year.

Brexit

8 in 10 members (83%) said they were fed up with Brexit with 72% strongly agreeing with this statement. 

50% are concerned that Brexit will cause delays at ports/Eurotunnel, and 47% are concerned that Brexit will cause delays at airports.


March 2019

There were 20,793 responses to the March survey between 12 and 18 March 2019.

Bikes

The majority of members claim to be considerate of the vulnerability of motorcyclists and therefore give them space (93% agree) and always look out for them (88% agree).

Londoners struggle more with motorcyclists, with 88% agreeing it is sometimes hard to spot them (compared to 85% average).

Nearly all motorists claim to be considerate of cyclists’ vulnerability and to give them space (95% agree), plus always look out for them (92% agree).

Men are most likely to have lost their temper with cyclists (16% agree, vs. 10% of women) and to have received shouts or hand signals from them (23% agree, vs. 16% of women).

Driving School

The majority of drivers had no preference on whether their driving examiner was a man or a woman (85%).

Weddings and Civil Partnerships

Asked to consider the costs of attending weddings and civil partnerships as a guest, including associated hen or stag parties, nearly a fifth (19%) admit to sometimes resenting the cost of attending a wedding and more than one in seven (15%) sometimes resent the cost of attending a hen or stag do. 

One in seven (14%) have declined to go to a hen or stag do because of the cost. 

Partners & Driving

Nearly a fifth (19%) feel both they and their partner drive a lot, but that they usually drive if they are going somewhere together.  It is particularly men (26%) that chose this option, suggesting that even if both partners drive a lot, there is a tendency for the man to drive when they are together.

Similarly, just over one in twenty (7%) said both they and their partner drive a lot but that their partner usually does the driving when they are together – and it was women (18%) who were much more likely to claim this than men (2%).

Battery Electric Vehicles

Cost and concerns around charging are the top barriers to owning a BEV

The top reasons drivers would choose a BEV are:

  1. It costs the same or less than an equivalent petrol or diesel car (35%)
  2. It has a ‘real world’ range of at least 250 miles on a single charge (33%)
  3. There are a lot more public charging points available in places where cars are left whilst drivers are doing something else.
City Driving

The average maximum drivers are willing to pay for a day’s park and ride in a city is £4.25 (mean amount).  

Among those who drive into large towns and cities for their commute and would consider using a park and ride, a quarter (25%) are not willing to spend any extra time on taking a park and ride, but nearly three in ten (29%) feel an additional 10 minutes each way would be acceptable, and over six in ten (62%) would accept up to 15 minutes being added each way.

Car and Home Insurance

The average voluntary excess on drivers’ car insurance is £187. 

The majority of AA members surveyed are homeowners of some type (78%).  Over half own outright (51%) and a quarter (26%) own with a mortgage. 

The most common type of home insurance among members is buildings and contents (77%).

Easter Driving

Most think they will be driving on at least one day over the Easter weekend (75%) with driving to visit friends or relatives being the top activity across all days (31%). 

The biggest single day members expect to be driving over the period is Saturday 20th (61%), with 14% planning to visit friends and relatives that day.

Two fifths (41%) think they will drive somewhere during the Easter period, but they are not sure where.

Holidays

The top destination for a main holiday this year is Europe (26%), followed by the UK coast (19%) or elsewhere abroad (11%). 

Younger members (18-34) are most likely to be heading to Europe (30%), as are wealthier people (AB, 30%). 


February 2019

There were 20,827 responses to the February survey between 12 and 18 February 2019

Car Insurance

28% of drivers aged 18-24 stated that they pay more than £1000 a year, compared to just 5% of 25-34 year olds.

28% of over 65s did no research before buying their car insurance, just renewing with the same provider, compared to just 9% of 18-24s and 11% of 25-34s.

There are significant differences between age groups regarding how respondents buy car insurance with 62% of 18-24s using price-comparison sites compared with only 23% of over 65s.

Dash Cams

17% of respondents stated that they have already bought and use a dash-cam while driving.

A further 37% are mildly interested in getting a dash-cam. 

Safety features

68% of respondents said they have anti-lock brakes on main car they drive. 16% have Advanced Emergency Braking, 11% have Adaptive Cruise Control and 8% Intelligent Speed Assistance.

Driver Behaviour

According to our poll, driver behaviour is getting worse. Only one driver behaviour – mobile phone use – was considered to be improving by more than 10% of respondents.

Automatics

74% of respondents drive a manual car, with this figure varying slightly by gender (70% men, 81% women). 

59% of respondents have always driven a manual, while 15% drive a manual now but have had automatics in the past.

When asked if they’d retake their driving test in an automatic (making it easier to pass but limiting them to automatics), the vast majority of respondents (87%) would still take the test in a manual so that they had the freedom to switch between transmissions as and when they wish.

Supervising learners

52% of respondents have ever supervised a learner. 38% of this group had had to tell the driver to slow down, while 28% had resorted to ‘stamping your foot down on an imaginary brake pedal’.

Part-worn tyres

Overall, 75% of respondents told us that they have never bought second-hand tyres and have no intention of doing so.

This figure varies significantly by age, however – with only 57% of 18-24s agreeing with the statement, compared with 85% of over-65s.

19% of 18-24s reported having already bought second-hand tyres.


January 2019

There were 21,039 responses to the January poll between 15 and 21 January 2019.

Smart Motorways

Most drivers (92%) have driven at one point on a motorway without a continuous hard shoulder. 

In terms of perceived safety, a ‘four-lane motorway with Emergency Areas at intervals instead of a hard shoulder’ was judged by motorists to be, out of eight different road types, the second least safe to drive on, with only 31% of drivers giving a score of 8-10, where 1 means extremely dangerous and 10 means perfectly safe. 

Only ‘narrow lanes with passing places’ were considered to be more unsafe, with only 18% choosing a score of 8-10 for these.

At the other end of the perceived safety scale sits ‘a three-lane motorway with a continuous hard shoulder’, judged to be safe by 72% of drivers: safer than residential roads (53%) which sits in second place. 

Cycling and Electric Mobility

A quarter of all drivers have ever used a bicycle instead of driving.  Overall a third (33%) of drivers ever cycle and 89% of these own their own pedal cycle.

Respondents were asked about the frequency at which they see electric/self balancing personal transportation devices - such as Segways, hoverboards, electric scooters, electric skateboards and electric unicycles – on pavements/footpaths/roads in their area.

More than two thirds (68%) have ever seen such devices on pavements/footpaths, with more than half (54%) having ever seen them on the roads.

Londoners are the most likely to have ever seen these devices on pavements/footpaths (83%) and roads (72%) – both numbers being well in excess of their respective UK averages.

When asked about the legality of using such devices on public pavements/footpaths, nearly two thirds (64%) disagree that the law should be changed to allow them on pavements/footpaths, however, the notion of allowing them on dedicated cycle paths receives much more support, with 56% agreeing ‘the law should be changed to allow them on dedicated cycle paths’ (just 26% disagree).

Overall almost 1 in 10 (9%) agree that they would ‘seriously consider buying/using one as an alternative to driving if they were made legal to use on roads and/or pavements/footpaths’.

Assisted and Autonomous vehicles

Desired features for their next car shows a range of opinions – Adaptive Cruise Control is wanted by 59% of drivers, with Advanced (Automatic) Emergency Braking wanted by 58%.Lane Keep Assist (which automatically steers back into lane if you drift over a lane line) comes in third place, with just under half (46%) wanting this from their next vehicle.

Regarding ‘Intelligent Speed Assistance’ (ISA) that could be fitted to cars as standard to help drivers keep to the current speed limit, an advisory solution is much more favoured, with 69% agreeing that ‘Cars should know the speed limit at all times and warn drivers when they exceed it’. (13% disagree), while the statement ‘Cars should know the speed limit at all times but drivers should be able to decide whether they are prevented from exceeding the limit or warned only’ saw 64% agreeing. 

66% agree that ‘There are times when a human may know the speed limit better than an electronic system in the car’.

The growth of automated vehicles will, naturally, go hand in hand with the an increased need for vehicles to make split-second decisions that are currently in the hands of humans – some of which have an ethical tinge to them.

Binary choices

Presented with 12 pairs of words, from which they would choose their favoured word:

  • Motorway (43%) lost out to rural roads (57%)
  • Roundabouts (56%) edged out traffic lights (44%)
  • While ‘driver; (88%) trounced ‘passenger’ (12%)
  • 4x4 vs Sports car saw a general preference for the former (69%/31%), with even Londoners (64%) being much more likely to favour such a vehicle.
Local authority budgets and issues

When asked about policy areas that they think their local council should prioritise, roads and potholes emerged as the top answer with 62% choosing it in their top three.

Education and adult social care came next in order of importance (43% and 33% respectively). 

When exploring respondents’ views of their local area from a road safety perspective – poor driving standards were cited as the number one concern from a list of twelve options by 27% of respondents (who could only choose one option).

Excessive speed is rated as the second biggest safety concern (17%).

Ultra-low emission vehicles

Asked about when they expect to own an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (one which emits less than 75g CO2/km and has the capability to operate for at least some of the time with zero emissions) around half of all drivers expect to ever buy one (47% EV/Electric Vehicle and 50% PHEV/Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle).


2018 Driver Poll summaries

2017 Driver Poll summaries

 

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