Kwik-Fit estimates that four million car owners, or one in eight motorists, are driving vehicles with faulty brakes.
Drivers admitted that they had ignored either grinding or squeaking noises coming from their brakes, or if they found that they were spongy upon application. They had failed to get their cars checked if they noticed handbrake travel, a feeling of the car pulling to one side as they decelerated or even if the brake warning light had come on on the dashboard.
Shockingly, over a quarter of those who were aware of faults had left them unfixed for a year or more.
David White, customer services director at Kwik-Fit commented: "These shocking findings should be enough to make any motorist looking in their rear view mirror question the car behind’s ability to stop in time.
"Brakes should be inspected as soon as braking system symptoms are noticed – it’s in all road users’ interests for you to be able to bring your car to a halt at the time of asking."
Approximately three in ten of every vehicle accidents involves a rear end collision – and three quarters of those occur at speeds of less than 30mph.