Yonder summary May 2021
There were 15,746 responses to the AA Yonder May survey between 10 and 18 May 2021.
In this survey
Driving in 2021
We opened our May survey by enquiring whether our members thought they were likely to drive more in the remainder of 2021 than in 2020 and also in comparison to their pre-pandemic mileage. 44% said they expect to drive more in the remainder of the year. In response to the second part of the question, only 1 in 10 expect to drive more compared with nearly half expecting to drive less than in pre-pandemic times.
Future working patterns
In our next question we asked panel members how they used to work before the pandemic, how they worked during the pandemic, and how they expect to work when the restrictions are lifted. Three quarters of those to whom the question applied said they used to work at a physical place of work full time, with less than 1 in 10 working from home full time prior to the pandemic.
During the pandemic the number of people attending work at a physical workplace dropped to just over a third (34%), and slightly more than this (35%) said they were working from home. 12% of our members who worked prior to the pandemic said they had been furloughed.
Holidays in 2021
With the restrictions lifting, it is anticipated that many people who have a holiday in 2021 will do so in the UK. Therefore, we asked AA panel members what, if anything, they think hotspots should do to maintain pandemic restrictions while also enticing visitors. The top responses were:
- Cheaper rail fares to reduce road traffic: 43%
- More Park & Ride sites to reduce vehicle traffic into destinations: 42%
- Free parking for suitable period (i.e. one hour): 40%
- Discounted public transport: 32%
We also asked panel members their likelihood to take certain types of holidays this year. The top responses were as follows:
- Hotel: 50%
- Professional holiday lettings (i.e. Holiday Cottages): 43%
- B&B: 28%
- Short-term private rent (i.e. AirBnB): 23%
- Static Caravan: 17%
- Camping: 13%
Buying an EV
The next question in the survey asked panel members their opinion on what car dealers could do to make the process of buying an electric vehicle easier. Advice on range and how to ensure you never run out of charge was the top response, chosen by nearly half of panel members (49%). Women (52%) were more likely than men (48%) to think this advice would make the EV buying process easier.
44% of panelists believed that advice on the charging kit needed at home and how to buy it would make the process of buying an EV easier.
37% of panel members said that an explanation from car dealers on how to claim Government incentives for EV buyers would be helpful. Men (38%) were more likely than women (35%) to think this would make the process easier.
Car insurance & EVs
Panel members were then asked which factors they considered important when choosing a vehicle insurer. Close to 2 in 5 (39%) said that picking a brand/company they know and trust was important, a third (33%) said that getting the cheapest price was a key factor, and 11% said they considered good independent ratings/reviews important.
Panel members were next asked whether they had had any glass on their car repaired or replaced on in the last 12 months, including the side windows and the front and rear windscreens. While the majority (94%) said they had not, 6% reported that they had some glass on their car repaired or replaced. We asked those who’d had glass repaired or replaced how they’d gone about it. The majority (58%) said they’d goner through their insurer, with a further third (31%) said they’d used a specialist windscreen company.
Changes to The Highway Code and the Driving test
With this year being the 90th anniversary of the Highway Code, we asked AA panel members what changes, if any, they thought should be made to the Highway Code. Almost two thirds (64%) said there should be more information on smart motorways. Over half (56%) believe The Highway Code should include information about EV’s and a similar number (54%) think more information about how to behave around vulnerable road users should be included.
We also asked respondents what changes they think should be made to the driving tests this year. The top response was that driving tests should introduce a minimum learning period before learners can book tests, chosen by over 2 in 5 panelists (44%).
Young person safety
The survey next asked AA panel members what they think is the greatest risk to the safety of teenagers. The top four risks chosen by respondents included drugs (39%), gun and knife crime (25%), driving (14%), and drinking (14%). However, gun and knife crime was more likely to be considered the greatest danger to teenagers by women (27%, versus 24% of men) as well as younger respondents aged 18-24 (37%), 25-34 (30%), and 35-44 (30%) compared to older respondents.
To round off the May 2021 survey we gave panel members a list of road offences and asked them how likely or unlikely they thought it was that a driver committing each of the offences in the area where they lived would be caught and punished. The results are as follows:
- Speeding 27%
- Driving in a bus lane 27%
- Drink driving 21%
- Driving without insurance 18%
- Driving whilst using a handheld mobile phone 16%
Yonder summary April 2021
There were 17,039 responses to the AA Yonder April survey between 13 and 20 April 2021.
In this survey
Pre journey checks
We began the April motoring survey by asking our members who drive, which preparations they make before taking a long car journey (20+ miles). The majority (81%) said they would fill up with fuel. The next most popular answers were to check tyre pressures (65%), checking the windscreen washer fluid and checking the oil, with half of respondents claiming to do this.
UK Holiday plans
When asked about their plans for holidays in the coming months, 4 out of 10 of our members said they would be taking a “staycation” this year, with most of them choosing to drive to this. Over a third of respondents had yet to decide on their holiday for 2021.
The pandemic has led to many people re-evaluating their homes. With this in mind, we asked our panel how often they looked at properties online, using websites like Zoopla or Rightmove, with no intention of moving. Over half of respondents admitted to doing this, with women and younger people more likely to do this.
The primary reason given for looking at online properties was to investigate house prices, with over half of our members citing this. Just over 2 in 10 people said they look at other properties for inspiration for their own home and garden.
Road safety confidence
We asked our survey what types of road they felt safest on, using a sliding scale where 0 was very dangerous and 10 was perfectly safe. Dual carriageways are where our members who drive feel safest, followed by motorways. Men are more likely to feel safe on motorways than women. Our panel feels less safe on rural and urban roads, but overall our members feel pretty safe on the UK road network.
Driving test confidence
Next, we asked our members who drive how confident they would feel about passing their practical and theory driving tests, should they have to retake them now. Confidence in passing the practical test was considerably higher than the theory, with 80% of respondents feeling they would pass their practical, versus 57% for the theory. Unsurprisingly, younger members were more confident in passing their theory test than older respondents.
We described a number of different driving situations to our panel and asked if they had encountered any of them. Most of our respondents who drive had experienced all of the conditions listed, with the most likely being driving near cyclists, horses or pedestrians. Driving on rural roads was the second highest scenario with 87% saying they had done this. The least likely was driving with new road layouts/furniture, but this was still chosen by 61% of our panel.
Our panel were asked to choose between two statements relating to the AA and our products and services. The first statement indicates the respondent is only interested in breakdown related services, the second indicates interest in all of the AA’s products and services. Our respondents were split on this, with breakdown related services receiving just over half of the votes (52%).
Car purchase plans
In our next question, we asked our panel if they were planning on buying a car in the next 12 months. While the majority have no plans to replace their cars, 28% of those who said they were planning a purchase wished to do so for environmental reasons. The second biggest factor was that their old car was in need of expensive repairs, followed by being bored with their current vehicle.
Moving on to vehicle type approval standards, we gave our panel a list of safety features and asked them to choose which, if any, they would like to see introduced as standard on new cars in the UK. The top 3 features were rear seat belt warning systems (65%), automated emergency braking (53%) and driver fatigue detection systems (47%). Alcolocks received the least votes, but almost a third of respondents (29%) still thought these should be introduced.
Finally, we asked what our members did over the Easter break. The majority of AA members said that they didn’t travel over the Easter weekend (75%). Of those who did travel, only 24% said that they did so by car.
Of those that didn’t travel, half said they had not had any plans to go anywhere while a further third stated that Coronavirus concerns were behind their reasons not to travel that weekend.
Yonder summary March 2021
There were 15,549 responses from AA members to our online poll between 9 and 17 March 2021.
In this survey
Effect of COVID on vehicle needs
We opened the March survey by asking our members how the pandemic has impacted them and their household in relation to the vehicles they own. An overwhelming 75% of respondent’s vehicle needs have not changed during the pandemic.
Only 12% of respondents have needed their vehicle more than ever, whilst 6% agree that sharing a car with another member of their household is now a practical option.
These views remain consistent among different genders, age, and region.
We gave our panel a list of life events and asked them when purchasing a car (regardless of purchase method), how these life events would concern them in affecting their ability to pay for the car. 20% of respondents agree that being made redundant would cause them to be extremely/very concerned when thinking about their ability to purchase a car. This view was shared more among younger members (56% 18-24s vs 22% 55-64).
Redundancy proved to be the most concerning life event, followed by illness (15%) and death of a partner/spouse (14%).
56% felt that moving house would cause them to be slightly/ not concerned when it came to thinking about their ability to purchase a car.
To support wildlife and pollinators (i.e. bees), councils are being encouraged by environmental charities to consider leaving grass verges uncut for longer, or plant wildflowers to grow “roadside meadows”. Given this information we asked our panel members to what extent they agree with certain statements on this issue.
85% overall agree that they would like to see more grass verges converted to roadside meadows so long as it does not impede visibility at junctions. Whilst 81% overall agree that they would like verges to be a mix of grass and flower/wildflower
Just under half of respondents (43%) disagree that grass verges should be cut back at more regular intervals
61% overall disagree that roadside meadows would be distracting to drivers.
We asked individuals on our panel who travel more than 10 miles each way to work in major towns or cities every day, which type of transport they use for the main part of their journey. The most popular mode of transport was a petrol car (44%) followed by a diesel car (39%) and the train (7%).
Petrol car was the most popular mode of transport for women (60% vs 38% men) however a diesel car was more popular among men (43% vs 29% women).
The least popular modes of transport were Bicycle (1%), electric car (1%), plug – in Hybrid car (1%) and LPG cars (1%).
We then asked members on the panel who travel more than 10 miles each way to work in a major town or city every day the main reason why they do this every day. The two most popular reasons were that they got the job and simply accepted that getting there would entail a long drive (38%) and that a bit of driving every day is a small price to pay to be able to live where they do (28%).
Smart motorway concerns
Motorways are the UK's busiest roads and are often congested. ‘Smart’ motorways were designed to help resolve the problem by providing additional capacity, predominantly through turning the hard shoulder into a running lane. Emergency zones were built at varying intervals to provide a relative place of safety. Given this information we asked our panel what they think should happen to the motorway network. 56% agreed that they should scrap the “smart” motorways project and reinstate the hard shoulder, 17% agreed that they should widen the motorway network so there are four running lanes and a permanent hard shoulder and 1 in 10 (10%) agreed that they should build “smart” motorways where the hard shoulder is only used when the motorway is busy.
We then asked members on the panel that drive how safe they feel driving in different scenarios. The scenarios that people overall felt the most nervous/anxious about, given a set list of scenarios were:
- A motorway where the hard shoulder can be “switched on and off” so it can be used as a running lane at peak times (39%)
- A motorway with no hard shoulder but with emergency refuge areas (lay-bys) about one and a half (1.5) miles apart (39%)
- A motorway with no hard shoulder but with emergency refuge areas (lay-bys) about one (1.0) mile apart 36%)
Easter was in early April this year, with Good Friday on 2nd April, Easter Sunday on 4th April and Easter Monday on 5th April 2021. Given this information we asked the panel whether they expected to be driving on any day over easter and if so why.
Around 3 in 10 members expected to drive on either one of those days. However more people were expecting to drive on Saturday (3rd April) compared to any other day (36%).
Among those who expected to drive, the most popular reason (on the list given) for driving was to visit friends or relatives and the least popular reasons for driving was simply driving to a town or city for leisure and driving to a sports event.
Many members would not have driven at all on these days
- Good Friday (69%)
- Saturday 3rd April (64%)
- Easter Sunday (70%)
- Easter Monday (72%)
Post lockdown journeys
We asked our panel to think about any planned or potential UK travels they may take this year following the recent government announcements. We then asked them where they are most looking forward to going, from a given list, when restrictions lift in their area. The top answers were:
- Visiting friends and family (45%)
- Going on a staycation or night away from home (14%)
- Going to a pub or restaurant (11%)
- General outdoor leisure (8%)
Our next few questions aimed to understand the awareness and attitudes around electric cars. We first asked our panel how familiar/unfamiliar they were with different schemes/incentives that are in place for the purchase and use of new or used electric cars. Out of a given list, the schemes/incentives that most people felt they confidently knew of/about were reduced vehicle excise duty (car tax) (37%) and electric cars can be exempt from congestion charging and parking charges in some areas (28%).
The schemes/incentives that most people had never heard of were lower benefit-in-kind for company car drivers (69%) and salary sacrifice scheme (69%)
We then went on to asking about the extent of their agreement with statements about the attitudes and beliefs around electric cars. Just over four fifths (81%) overall agree that electric cars are too expensive, 77% of respondents believed that an electric car would not take them as far on a single charge as a petrol or diesel car would on a full tank of fuel and 59% overall agree that charging an electric car takes too long. These were also the top agreed upon statements.
68% of respondents overall disagreed that there were enough charging points across the UK.
Finally, on this subject, we asked members on the panel, what would give them more confidence in owning an electric car. 75% of respondents admitted that ease of access to a charging point at home would overall give them more confidence and 73% of respondents acknowledged that if they knew that they could get a charge at any charging point irrespective of who operates it or who supplies the electricity this would also give them more confidence. Interestingly, 13% of members said having the opportunity to drive one would give them less confidence.
We asked members about fully autonomous vehicles (one which can drive without any input from a human in all conditions):
72% agreed even if they knew it was statistically safe, they don't think they would feel at ease riding in an autonomous vehicle. This figure was higher among women (76%).
34% agreed insurance premiums for autonomous vehicles would be higher than for conventional vehicles.
29% agreed they think advances in science and engineering will allow autonomous vehicles to be safer than human drivers.
Half of members (50%) disagreed that by 2025, autonomous vehicles will be widely available.
We lastly asked our members about a purely hypothetical situations as follows:
Imagine that two children suddenly run into the road in front of an autonomous vehicle carrying a single ‘passenger’ and travelling too fast to stop in time. The vehicle has three basic options each of which is likely to result in at least one fatality, but which should it choose?
- 61% said swerve right into the back of a parked HGV.
- 5% said continue straight on, running the children over.
- 2% said swerve left to run into an elderly couple walking on the pavement.
Imagine now that YOU are riding as the sole ‘passenger’ in an autonomous vehicle. Two children suddenly run into the road in front of the vehicle, but it is travelling too fast to stop in time. Which of the following choices would you want the autonomous vehicle to make?
- 63% said swerve right into the back of a parked HGV.
- 5% said continue straight on, running the children over.
- 2% said swerve left to run into an elderly couple walking on the pavement.
Yonder summary February 2021
There were 18,969 responses to the February 2021 survey between 9 and 15 February 2021.
In this survey
Buying used cars in lockdown
We opened the February survey by asking if our members would buy, or had considered buying a used car during lockdown without seeing it in person. The overwhelming majority of respondents were against this idea with over 90% saying they wouldn’t consider it.
The things that people said would increase the likelihood of them considering purchasing a car in this way were having the vehicle inspected by a trusted organisation, not being charged to return the vehicle if they changed their mind and knowing the dealer was associated with a trusted body.
When we asked our panel if they had considered changing their career in the last six months, a quarter of those who work said they had, with those on lower incomes or younger respondents more likely to say this.
Covid car cleaning
With COVID–19 making people more aware of the importance of cleaning frequently-touched surfaces, we asked if people's car cleaning habits had also been affected. 37% of respondents indicated they were cleaning the car steering wheel more frequently. Other areas getting more attention were the interior and exterior door handles and the gear stick.
Rear daytime lights
AA panel members were then asked their opinion on whether it should be a legal requirement for new vehicles to have Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) at the rear as well as the front of the vehicle. 71% were in agreement that this should be a legal prerequisite, while 15% didn’t believe it was necessary and another 15% were on the fence.
We asked our panel to choose, from a list of options, what measures they would support to tackle drink-driving on UK roads. The top three chosen were:
- Introduce a zero-tolerance policy across the UK (49%)
- Introduce random testing by the police (46%)
- Reduce the limit in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to match Scotland (45%)
Driving in lockdown
The next question in the poll asked AA panel members whether they had experienced any unexpected benefits of driving because of the UK lockdowns. A notable 92% of respondents admitted that there had been advantages to driving during lockdown, and that they had experienced some sort of benefit. Of the respondents who believed there were benefits, quieter roads and spending less money on fuel emerged at the top, chosen by 80% and 79% of these panel members respectively.
We asked the members of our panel who drive if they had experienced driving on motorways with All Lane Running (ALR) sections. 60% said they had with males more likely to indicate this.
We then asked which safety measures, from a given list, should be implemented the fastest. The top answers were:
- Retrofitting more emergency zones so that the maximum distance between them is 0.75 miles (47%)
- Retrofitting a stopped vehicle detection radar system to help identify vehicles stopped in a live lane (36%)
- Issue a £100 fine and 3 points for drivers who drive in a lane with a red ‘X’ showing (31%)
- A public safety and awareness campaign (28%)
Cash saved in Covid
The next question aimed to understand saving habits during Covid, and asked respondents whether they had saved more money since the lockdown began, than they would have if Covid had not happened. Over half (57%) admit having saved more than they would have, while 1 in 4 (25%) believe they saved roughly the same as expected. 13% claim to have saved less than expected pre-Covid.
With more people getting out and about in rural locations, we asked if our members had noticed an increase in rubbish dumped at the roadside. Just under half our respondents indicated they had noticed an increase, rising to just over half in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Escaping in Covid
Given that people have been stuck indoors since lockdown began, we asked our panel members how they manage to give themselves space away from other members of their household. Amongst those panellists to whom this question was applicable, almost two thirds (64%) admitted to spending more time in the garden, while one-in-five claimed to spend more time in the garage (21%) and find an excuse to go on a drive (20%), respectively.
We then asked those respondents with school-age children in their households to give us their opinions on home-schooling.
79% of our panellists believed that not going to school was damaging their child’s social development, 73% believed that it was damaging their academic development, while 64% believed that it was detrimental to their child’s physical development.
Home-schooling, however, has led to having an increased respect for teachers, in more than 2 in 5 respondents (43%).
Yonder summary January 2021
There were 17,373 responses to the January 2021 survey between 12 and 20 January 2021.
In this survey
We began our first survey of 2021 by asking our members a few questions about plug-in hybrid/electric vehicle ownership.
Of all respondents, 5% said they had owned or driven some form of plug in vehicle. We followed this with some questions about charging those vehicles. The top issues given, from a set list were:
- Too many apps required (30%)
- The price of charging at public points is unclear and confusing (27%)
- I would use my EV more if public charging was easier (26%)
When we asked what improvements would make it easier to use public charge points, all of the options were overwhelmingly supported. The ability to find public charge points from the cars navigation system, and access to real time data on all charge points (e.g. knowing in advance if they are in service or available) were most popular, both getting 88% agreement.
Finally on this subject, we asked what our driving members considered to be the top three preferred methods of payment for public vehicle charging. The top three were contactless credit/debit card, chip and pin card and via a single app.
We asked our panel a number of questions relating to road conditions. Firstly, we wanted to know how people felt about the road surfaces in the areas they live. On a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is terrible and 10 is excellent, the majority of people indicated a score of 4 – 7 for residential, main and trunk roads. Motorways scored higher with almost half (49%) rating them 8 – 10. We followed this up with a similar question about road markings. again using a scale of 0 to 10. Similarly most people rated local main roads 4 – 7, with the exception of motorways where 55% of people rated them 8 – 10.
When we asked our members to rate levels of congestion in their areas using the same scale, the spread was more even with all road types receiving the most votes in the 4 – 7 range.
We rounded off this section by asking how important our member felt it was to improve and resolve the road condition issues in their area. Every sector of our panel felt this was important.
Protected no claims bonus (PNCB)
When asked if they had a protected no claims bonus on their car insurance policy, 8 out of 10 respondents said they had, except in our younger category where just under a third (32%) indicated they had one.
Of all of those polled who drive, 71% indicated that a PNCB was a benefit worth paying extra for and 70% said they wouldn’t expect a rise in insurance premiums after a claim, where they had a PNCB.
The AA Yonder survey
We rounded off our first survey of 2021 with some questions about the survey itself.
24% of our respondents said they complete the survey every month and 40% complete it whenever they see the email.
The main motivation for completing the survey is the £500 prise draw. However, 50% of respondents said they want to express their views on the subjects covered in the survey, 37% said they’re interested in the motoring issues and use the survey to keep informed.
When asked how well or badly the survey does at a given set of options, the majority (76%) said it does well at representing the views of road users and all of the other options received an overwhelmingly positive response.
Finally, we asked our respondents what we could do to improve the survey. As well as set options, we gave our panel the opportunity to add their own suggestions for this question.
Almost half of respondents wanted more feedback from the previous surveys and over a third asked for more incentives. A quarter would like the ability to suggest questions.
Some of the top verbatim suggestions included:
- More free text feedback options
- More attention to rural areas
- Changing the survey colour scheme
- More about motorcycles/motorcyclists
- Increase prize money/more prizes