AA-Populus Motoring Panel

The AA-Populus Motoring Panel




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The Motoring Panel

Your opinions are important to help us develop campaigns

Road pricing, fuel prices, traffic congestion, road condition and road safety including young driver safety are just some of the issues that we must face up to as motorists.

We're keen to hear what you think, so the AA is working with leading market research company Populus* to get your views. We have established the biggest dedicated motoring opinion panel in Europe to help us understand AA Members' thoughts and opinions on the big transport issues as well as on some lighter topics.

Your opinions are the key to help us develop polices and campaigns on important transport issues.

Make your views on motoring count

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This is your chance to join our AA-Populus Motoring Panel and help us to communicate your issues of concern to Government, parliament, local authorities and the media.

Every month we will send you a short online survey that shouldn't take more than 5 minutes or so to complete. Responses will be treated in confidence and we will publish an outline summary of the results every month on our website.

Prize draw

If you complete a survey you will automatically be entered into that month's prize draw to win £500.


We launched the AA-Populus Motoring Panel in 2008, since when more than 180,000 AA members have signed up to take part.  Around 25,000 Members complete a survey every month making this the largest dedicated motoring opinion panel in Europe.

Surveys have covered a wide range of subjects - many of which we revisit from time to time to gauge how opinions change - from road pricing, young drivers, speed cameras and drink driving to parking, potholes, fuel prices and congestion. 

We've asked the panel for campaign ideas and priorites too.

"I hope you can spare ten minutes or so each month to respond to the online survey. Your views will help the AA to understand what you see as the crucial transport issues and help us to communicate those concerns to government." Edmund King OBE, AA president

Make your views on motoring count

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*Populus (www.populus.co.uk) is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules


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Decade of Action


March 2016

There were 24,070 responses to the March motoring panel survey between 8 and 15 March 2016.

Roadside service areas

Only just under half (46%) agree that there are generally enough places to stop on long non-motorway journeys.

Seven in ten (71%) agree that there seem to be plenty of lay-bys but not enough toilets on major trunk roads. Agreement with this statement is positively correlated with age (18-24; 63% vs. 65+; 75%).

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)

AA members are generally in favour of ANPR cameras with over eight in ten (82%) in agreement with the statement ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to worry about’.

The majority of respondents (95%) agree that it’s acceptable for ANPR to be used to catch car tax cheats and insurance cheats.

Drink drive limits

Around one third (34%) of AA panel members believe there should be no change to the current 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood drink drive limit in England and Wales.

Just over one in five (22%) would support a zero limit i.e. 0mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

Easter holiday travel

The most popular destination for those planning to drive over the Easter weekend was to visit friends or relative for the day with just under half (49%) of respondents planning to do so.

Road conditions

Only 1% of respondents would rate the residential streets and main roads near them as being in ‘excellent’ condition (10 out of 10). The average rating of the condition of residential streets is 4.2 and of main roads is 4.6.

It is a similar story for the condition of road markings. Condition of road markings on residential roads close to where you live scores the lowest with an average rating of 4.9 out of 10. Condition of road markings on main roads follows with a rating of 5.7 out of 10.

Annoying road features

When AA members were asked how annoying they found a series of road features, road humps came out on top with just over three fifths (62%) rating them as annoying.

Just under three fifths (59%) consider road works to be annoying.

Respondents in London are more likely to find cycle lanes annoying (27% vs.18% overall).

Pedestrian crossings

A third (34%) would walk to a pedestrian crossing if there was one in sight but otherwise would cross where they are.

Many respondents (70%) claim to see pedestrians step out into the road without looking when they’re driving .

A further 72% claim to see this happen when pedestrians are distracted on a phone or texting, and two thirds (66%) claim to see this happen when pedestrians are wearing headphones.

Holiday plans for 2016

Just under three fifths (58%) of respondents plan to drive when on holiday in 2016.

Just under two fifths (29%) plan to take a holiday abroad, fly there, and not hire a car.

Less than one in ten (7%) will not be taking a holiday at all.

Summer driving in France

Around one in ten (12%) intend to drive to France this summer in their own vehicle.

Of this 12%, just over two thirds are planning to do so due to a holiday and just over a quarter plan to drive through France to another country.

Car insurance for young drivers

Just under half (49%) think it acceptable for the car to be insured in the parent’s name, with the son or daughter as a ‘named driver’ and help them pay for it.

February 2016

There were 25,208 responses to the February motoring panel survey between 16 and 23 February 2016.

Car running costs

Around half of panel members (52%) claim to know roughly what they spend on separate items but are not interested in putting it all together to work out a total cost or cost per mile.

Panel members were most likely to consider fuel (94%), insurance (90%), car tax (86%) and servicing (81%) when thinking about car running costs.

Mobile phones

While around a third (30%) of panel members agree that it is tempting to answer a call or read a text on a hand-held mobile while driving and that they understand why some people do it, only one in ten (10%) agree that it is acceptable to do either while in stationary traffic.

Just under half of members (47%) admit to having ever used a phone while driving.

  • 37% have made a call with a hands free phone
  • 18% have read a text message received
  • 7% have made a call with a hand held phone

Motorway Service Areas (MSAs)

Three fifths (61%) of panel members agreed that there are enough MSAs to meet their needs on long journeys.

Respondents appear largely satisfied with toilet facilities at MSAs with just under two thirds (65%) agreeing that there are enough toilets and just over three fifths (62%) agreeing the toilets are generally clean and tidy.

Motorways without a hard shoulder

Two fifths of respondents (40%) disagree with the spacing between Emergency Refuge Areas (ERAs) being about right at 2.5km.

Around half would feel safer driving on motorways if ERAs were instead spaced every 1.5km (55%) or every 1km (52%).

Around three fifths (61%) agree that you are less likely to try and drive to the next ERA in the event of a breakdown if you can’t see it.

Government budget

Just over three fifths (62%) agree that an increase in fuel duty would cause damage to the economy

Just over three quarters (76%) think there is a strong possibility the Chancellor will increase fuel duty.

90% agree that the AA should campaign for fuel price transparency (information given as to what makes up the price at the pump).


Over the past 2 years just under two fifths (39%) of respondents have experienced
damage to their vehicle caused by a pothole.

Of those who experienced damage, the most common result was a damaged tyre (39%).

Only one in five claim they know how to report a pothole on a local road.

Driving licence

Just over half of panel members (55%) agree that it is a good idea to re-test people for their driving licence regularly when they reach a certain age. Agreement with this is highest among younger respondents (75%) and lowest among older
respondents (41%).

Around three fifths (61%) think people should be retested following a serious accident or the receipt of points on their licence.

Naked streets

Around half (51%) of panel members agree that naked street schemes are a good idea if there is a clear road safety benefit.

Just under a third (30%) agree that the main purpose of naked street schemes is to discourage vehicle use.

Just over three fifths (62%) agree that the blind and partially blind are disadvantaged by naked street schemes, while only one in eight (12%) agree that they feel safer as a pedestrian or as a cyclist on naked streets.

January 2016

There were 26,463 responses to the January 2016 motoring panel survey between 18 and 25 January 2016.

Drivers using hand-held mobiles

An overwhelming 98% of panel member said they had seen other drivers using hand-held mobile phones when driving.

One fifth (20%) claim to see other drivers on hand-held mobiles on every journey they make.

Electric Cars

For those who do not own or drive an electric car, the top 3 concerns that would act as a barrier to purchasing one are the high purchase price (82%), availability of public charging stations (81%), and the length of time to offset the higher purchase price through fuel and tax savings (68%).

New government measures

92% support the proposed increase in penalty for mobile phone offences by HGV drivers (from £100 to £150 and from 3 to 6 points).

88% support the proposed increase in penalty for mobile phone offences among all drivers (from £100 to £150 and from 3 to 4 points).

85% support the proposal to allow learners to have motorway lessons in a dual control car with an approved instructor.

82% support the proposed increase in littering penalties (to £150).

Traffic police officers

A quarter (25%) now rate the number of dedicated traffic police officers on motorways as adequate compared with 21% in July 2014.

Just under a fifth (18%) rate the number of dedicated traffic police officers on dual carriageways as adequate compared with 14% in July 2014.

Petrol choice and price

Of those that ever buy petrol, the majority (72%) never buy super unleaded.

One in twenty (5%) think super unleaded petrol is better and buy it all the time while just over one in ten (13%) occasionally fill their car with super unleaded.

For just over a third of respondents (35%) petrol at £1 a litre at supermarkets was just a bonus as they always fill up at supermarkets.

6% said they had actively switched to buying their petrol at a supermarket to take advantage of the £1 a litre offer.

Older cars

Just over one in twenty (6%) own a classic car more than 15 years old, but just under one in ten (8%) panel members or another member of their household currently rely frequently on a car older than 15 years.

A fifth (19%) of panel members own a car between 10 and 15 years old and rely on it every day as their household’s main or only car.

Car tax

Overall 84% knew that it was true that if you buy a used car it’s not taxed until you (the new keeper) tax it (87% of men vs. 78% of women).

Overall only 79% knew that if you sell a car you cannot include the value of any remaining car tax in the deal.

Only just over half (56%) knew it is true that if you sell a car you get an automatic refund for any whole months of car tax remaining.


A large proportion of AA panel members (91%) agree that car parking spaces are often too small compared to the size of modern cars.

Just under three quarters (74%) often worry about the possibility of their car getting damaged while it’s parked and a further half (51%) generally try and park in the quietest part of the car park to reduce risk of damage to their car.

Only half (48%) of respondents read the terms and conditions of parking very carefully when parking in an unfamiliar car park.

Road traffic accidents

Just over one in ten (13%) have been involved as a driver in a road traffic accident within the past 3 years.

Involvement as a driver in an accident is negatively correlated with age with one fifth (21%) of those aged 18-24 being involved compared to 11% of those aged 65 and above.

Just over one in ten (13%) had to have their vehicle towed/recovered following the accident.

Around half (51%) of those involved in a road traffic accident claim it took a lot of time and effort to sort out the aftermath of the accident.


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Decade of Action


December 2015

There were 26,138 responses to the motoring panel survey between 14 and 18 December 2015.

Practical Driving Test Centers

Just over one third of AA members (37%) agree that it is important to take your
practical driving test on familiar roads in the area you learnt to drive in.

Three quarters (75%) disagree that candidates should be prepared to travel anywhere in the country to take a driving test.

DVLA/DVSA Services Online

The majority of respondents (93%) have used at least one of the digital services offered by the DVLA/DVSA.

Of those who have ever used DVLA/DVSA digital services, taxing your vehicle online is by far the most commonly used service with 94% having done this.

Renewing or replacing your driving license is the second most commonly used service with 45% of members having done this.

Just under two thirds (64%) of AA members agree that using motoring agency digital services is generally an intuitive and painless process and just over two thirds (69%) prefer accessing motoring agency services online whenever possible.

Journey Planning

The most important features when planning a driving route online before travel are that long term road works are highlighted (81%), current traffic conditions are highlighted (74%) and an accurate estimations of total journey time is highlighted (72%).

The most important feature when following a driving route on a sat nav or smart phone among AA members is that clear instructions are given at junctions and roundabouts with 87% stating this was important.

New Year’s Resolutions

The most popular resolution about driving was to drive more economically with almost three in ten (28%) choosing this. This is closely followed by trying to walk more with 27% of respondents choosing this as their New Year’s resolution.

Car Buying

Three quarters (75%) of AA members are planning to change the main car they drive within the next 5 years. Of these, just over one fifth (22%) plan to buy a brand new car, and around one in ten (9%) plan to buy an ex-demonstrator car.

The majority of respondents expect their next car to use either petrol or diesel(35% and 22% respectively).

That factor that is of greatest concern to AA members when choosing a car is reliability (98% say this is important). This is followed by the car being safe (95%).

Driver Retraining Courses

Drivers who commit certain driving offenses (considered to be relatively minor, such as some speeding offences) may be offered a driver retraining or awareness course, rather than prosecution and a considerable majority of AA members (85%) say they agree with this alternative penalty.

November 2015

There were 29,568 responses to the motoring panel survey between 17 and 23 November 2015.

Connected cars

When asked who they thought would own the data generated by their car the most popular selection was the registered keeper. This was chosen by over half of respondents (57%). Very few respondents thought the data should be owned by any other external party such as the car manufacturer (4%).

Christmas and New Year travel

Three quarters (76%) of AA members are expecting to use their car for a journey over 20 miles over the Christmas period.

The least popular day for travel is Christmas Day although around one fifth (22%) of respondents are planning to drive more than 20 miles on this day.

Around three fifths (62%) are planning to drive more than 20 miles over the New Year period.

The least popular day for travel during the New Year period is Friday 1st January (Bank holiday) with just under one fifth (19%) planning to drive more than 20 miles on this day.

Unused cars

Just under one third (29%) will have one car standing unused until the beginning of January.

Avoiding overnight stays

Of those prepared to drive at all over Christmas the most common distance AA members would be prepared to drive to avoid an overnight stay with friends or family is between 1 and 2 hours (31%).

Car park damage

Just under half of AA members (47%) have had their car damaged whilst it has been parked in a car park in the past 12 months, down 3% from the previous year (51%).

Drinking and driving

When asked what they would do if their family member or friend that was meant to be driving them home from a Christmas party or event had drunk too much, the majority of AA members (78%) would take away the keys and call a cab.

When asked what they would do if they saw a friend or relative getting behind the wheel of a car when they were clearly over the limit, half of respondents (50% and 53% respectively) would take away their keys and call a cab, and just over a third (34%) would insist on giving them a lift.

Just over one in six (17%) would drive after a couple of drinks if they received an urgent call to pick up a loved one.

Speed cushions

Of those members who ever encounter speed cushions, just over one fifth (21%) have to drive over more than 10 every day.

Those in London encounter speed cushions most frequently with just under two fifths (38%) having to drive over more than 10 every day.

Motoring Christmas gifts

The most popular motoring related gift to receive at Christmas is a voucher for a full car service with over three quarters (77%) claiming they would be happy to receive this.

The second most popular choice is a voucher for a full car valet with three quarters (75%) claiming they would be happy with this gift.

October 2015

There were 27,662 responses to the motoring panel survey between 13 and 20 October 2015.

Fuel choice

Just under three fifths (57%) drive a petrol car and just over two fifths (43%) drive a diesel.

Of those considering changing their car in the next three years, just under a third (32%) expect their next car to use diesel.

Londoners are least likely to change their car to a diesel with only 19% of those considering changing their car, expecting to change to a diesel.

Of those who do not expect their next car to be a diesel just under one in ten (9%) cite the recent diesel emissions scandal as the main reason their next car will not be a diesel.

Road condition

Respondents deem residential streets the most problematic road type in terms of road surfacing, with only one fifth (20%) rating them highly (8-10 out of 10).

The road surface on motorways is of least concern to respondents with over half (55%) rating them highly (8-10 out of 10).

The area of the UK with the worst road surface on residential roads appears to be Yorkshire & Humberside, with respondents from this area giving the road condition an average score of 5.01 compared to the overall average score of 5.33.

Memory blanks

70% say they have experienced not being able to recall the last few moments of their journey, with just under one sixth (15%) saying this has happened very or quite often.


Just under one third (31%) use their headlights (manually) whenever visibility is poor but a quarter will only use headlights at night and rely on sidelights alone when visibility is poor during the day.

Around one in ten (9%) rely entirely on automatic headlight operation.

Winter tyres

Just under three quarters of respondents (73%) are aware of winter tyres that are specifically designed to perform when temperatures are below 7 degrees.

Around three fifths of respondents would consider fitting all-season tyres as an opposed to changing from summer to winter tyres each year (61%) or would
consider fitting all-season tyres despite never having fitted winter tyres (62%).

Just under half of respondents would like to fit winter tyres but do not do so due to the cost (45%) or the hassle of changing tyres twice a year (46%).

Autumn driving

The most commonly disliked feature of autumn driving is dazzle from the sun when it is low in the sky, with just over four fifths of respondents (82%) citing their dislike
of this.

Just under two thirds (62%) dislike other drivers not using their lights properly, nearly three fifths (58%) dislike inconspicuous pedestrians and cyclists and just under half (48%) dislike other cars having defective lights.

Driving in bad weather

When asked if they would drive regardless of the police advising people to avoid all travel that was not essential, where applicable, over half of respondents (53%) would still drive to work.

Just under half (47%) would drive regardless of the police warning if it was to attend a medical appointment.

When asked how they would be likely to change their plans if heavy rain and possible flooding were forecast, respondents were most likely to either cancel or delay the journey (34%) or choose a different route (33%).

MOT test

Almost 9 in 10 (87%) were able to correctly identify that you are able to get an MOT test up to a month before the expiry date of the current MOT and preserve the same renewal date.

Between a week or two before the old MOT certificate expires is when most respondents arrange for their MOT test to be undertaken (39%).

Only 1% of respondents admit to forgetting to renew their MOT and get one after the old one has expired.

Just under half of respondents (48%) get their MOT carried out at an MOT test center that carries out the service and the MOT at the same time.

September 2015

There were 24,739 responses to the motoring panel survey between 14 and 22 September 2015.

Future fuels

Four fifths (81%) agree that it is important to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and the majority (85%) agree that more environmentally friendly fuels should be widely available.


Four fifths (79%) do not cycle anywhere, and of those that do cycle (21%), half cycle between 1 and 5 miles a week.


One third of respondents (32%) agree that parking availability on their street is so bad they worry about finding a space when they return.

When driving to work, just over one third of respondents worry about being able to park (36%), or avoid using their car at lunchtime for fear of losing their parking space (37%).

Traffic free days

Half of respondents (49%) think that traffic free days are a good idea and just under half (47%) would support the idea of traffic free days in their local town or city.

Highway Code

Two fifths (40%) have a copy of the Highway Code and just under a quarter (23%) can’t remember the last time they looked at it.

A third (33%) have not looked at the Highway Code since they passed their driving test.

Car safety features

The majority (89%) are confident they understand the function/benefit of antilock brakes (ABS) with only 1% having never heard of this feature.

Confidence in understanding is also high for parking assist (75%), traction control (69%) and brake assist (69%).

Confidence in understanding is lowest for Electronic stability control (52%), lane keeping support (47%) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) (42%).

Partner’s driving

Just under half (46%) think they are better drivers than their partners compared to just over one eighth (13%) that think their partner is a better driver.

Flood water

When driving and the road ahead is completely covered by standing flood water, the most common response among respondents was to turn around and go another way (24%). This was followed by checking the depth and driving through if less than 10cm deep (21%), and only driving through if the kerbs were still visible (20%).

Local motoring issues

The biggest local transport issue of concern is potholes with four fifths (82%) selecting this option. The second most common concern is congestion(49%) and the third is poor drainage (30%).

Just over a third (36%) of Londoners said that parking provision was a concern (6-9 %points higher than rest of UK).

Three quarters of respondents (75%) think the AA should concentrate campaigning on national motoring issues.

AA App

A third of respondents (35%) have downloaded the AA app with download rates being higher amongst men than women (38% vs. 28%).

Half of younger respondents, have downloaded the app (18-24; 53%).

August 2015

There were a record 29,660 responses to the motoring panel survey between 20 and 26 August 2015.

Speed enforcement

Almost 7 in 10 (69%) say it is unacceptable that some drivers are effectively let off speeding offences (detected by cameras) because of a lack of police resources.

Only a fifth (22%) agree that it is fair that some areas process a higher proportion of ‘tickets’ than others.

1 in 7 (14%) have attended a speed awareness course. Of those who have attended 87% would be likely to recommend it to someone else.

Three quarters (77%) think it is acceptable for the police to use speed cameras at the side of the road to identify vehicles involved in speeding offences, and this remains in line with when the question was last asked in September 2014 (76%).

Cross channel travel

12% say they have not been affected this year by the news reports of migrant activity, industrial action, or Operation Stack on the Eurotunnel/Dover/Calais crossing, but will think twice about booking to travel via Calais next year.

Among those who have ever travelled to the continent by train/ ferry, two fifths (42%) say they are less likely to take a motoring holiday on the continent next year (2016) as a result of Migrant activity/other issues on crossings to Calais, and direct action by French farmers this summer.

Smoking in cars

One in twenty (5%) smoke, and do so when driving, and a further 4% smoke, but never do so when driving.

9 in 10 (92%) say it’s never acceptable to smoke in a car with children present.

Motoring concerns

The risk of death or injury on the road was ranked as the number one motoring concern (of 5), with more than half of members (55%) ranking this top. Women were more likely to do so; 62% vs. 51% men.

The second most common motoring concern is the state of the roads (20%).

Road works

9 in 10 (88%) agree that there are regular instances of speed restrictions and lane closures where no work appears to be being carried out.

More than two thirds (68%) say there is insufficient information at major road works sites about the purpose of works being carried out, and a similar proportion (67%) agree that these days they seem to work on much longer stretches of road at the same time than in the past (i.e. ten years ago).

Driving abroad worries

Being involved in an accident (18%) is the top concern among respondents when driving abroad either in their own car, or in a hire car.

The second top concern about driving abroad is not knowing the rules of the road and being stopped by the police (13%).

Long journeys

When making a road journey of more than 100 miles in the UK using major roads to reach a specific destination in a specific time a quarter (26%) allow more than an extra hour.

Bank holiday travel

A fifth (19%) of members planned to drive somewhere for the bank holiday weekend (28/29/30/31 August).

Irritating drivers

Tailgating was the highest ranking pet hate with more than a quarter (28%) saying that this irritates them the most.

The second highest ranking annoyance is drivers talking on their mobile phone whilst driving (27%), and the third is middle lane hogging (18%).

July 2015

There were 29,267 responses to the motoring panel survey between 21 and 28 July 2015.

Car scrappage scheme

7 in 10 (72%) say they would support the government introducing a new scheme aimed specifically at scrapping older, more polluting diesel cars and replacing them with new, and cleaner petrol, diesel or hybrid/electric vehicles.

Car mobile app

If a small device plugged into their car which could be linked to an app on their mobile which would allow them to see where theirs and their loved ones’ car was at any time,  a quarter (25%) say they would use the app regularly to see when loved ones left for work, or are nearby to home in the car.

Hassles of owning a car

Two fifths (41%) say that the biggest hassle with owning car is unexpected repairs, while 1 in 8 (12%) say that the biggest hassle with owning a car is finding somewhere to park.

Car Tax 2017

More than 7 in 10 (72%) AA members agree that creating a ‘road fund’ from vehicle excise duty (VED) makes good sense, though it will not be enough to fund the road improvements the UK needs.

Almost three fifths (57%) believe the government should not change the current system for VED, and should just put more of our motoring taxes into roads.

MOT change

Over half (56%) agree that moving a cars first MOT from 3 years to 4 years makes sense, and half (51%) say that any additional risk is small and is outweighed by the cost and time savings for vehicle owners.


The majority (90%) of AA members think that if the Highways England converts some sections of motorway hard shoulders into permanent running lanes, then it will be more difficult to deal with incidents/accidents/road works in sections where there is no hard shoulder.

59% say they will be more nervous driving on a motorway without a hard shoulder and only a third (36%) are confident that they fully understand what a ‘SMART’ (in England) motorway is.

Insurance Premium Tax

87% believe that increasing the cost of essential insurance is not fair, and the same percentage (87%) believe that more expensive vehicle insurance encourages people to drive uninsured.

Only 28% of respondents correctly identified that IPT is levied on Breakdown cover.


Seven in ten (70%) would not consider buying a car without broadcaster radio (FM or DAB) in it.

Just over half (51%) say they have heard about a potential Digital Radio Switchover.

22% have a digital radio in their car currently.

June 2015

There were 25,810 responses to the motoring panel survey between 17 and 24 June 2015

Summer driving

Filling up with fuel (89%), checking car tyre pressures (79%), and checking the windscreen washer fluid (77%) are the three most common preparations AA members make before a long car journey in summer.

Throwing rubbish out of the window is the most common annoyance for road users in the summer (30%).

45% say they will be going away by car on holiday in the UK this summer.

Infotainment technology

Four fifths (78%) think infotainment systems should have built-in safeguards to prevent significant driver interaction and distraction whilst driving.

Think Bikes

Over half (55%) of AA members believe that the “Think Bikes” campaign refers to both bicycles and motorbikes.

Among those who have ever seriously considered using a powered two wheeler (motorcycle/scooter) for a regular daily journey the most common reason for not doing so is because of safety concerns (65%).

Driving confidence

93% of AA members feel confident about driving on dual carriageways, 90% say they are confident about driving on rural roads, and 89% are confident about driving on motorways.

One in twenty (5%) say if they are in lane 1 on a motorway or dual carriageway and are passing a slip road on their left hand side they normally hold their position and speed, and leave it to merging traffic to find a gap and match their speed.

Road user charging

Almost three fifths (57%) identified the red circle with a white ‘c’ symbol as indicating that you are in the London congestion charging zone even though the same sign is also being used in association with the Dartford crossing charging scheme.

Basic car checks

13% say they haven’t got a clue how to check and top up their engine oil and coolant/antifreeze. 8% rely on their garage to do this when the car is serviced, and 5% rely on a relative/ friend to check.

Ideal driving holiday companion

The most popular choice of companion for a driving holiday/road trip across Europe is an AA patrol man or woman (20%) in case of a breakdown.

Car colours

AA members’ top choice for car colour for their next car is blue (21%). Followed by silver (19%), black (18%), and red (14%).

Motoring taxes

More than seven in ten (73%) are concerned that motoring taxes will be increased in the Chancellors stability budget on 8 July.

Road bothers

More than half (52%) say their biggest annoyance with roads in their area at this time of year is potholes that need to be filled, while one in seven (14%) say that their biggest annoyance with the roads at this time of year is long grass blocking sight-lines at junctions.

May 2015

There were a record 28,265 responses to the motoring panel survey between 18 and 28 May 2015.

Choice of fuel

Three fifths (58%) of AA members say their main car is petrol and 41% diesel.

Among those (73%) who are planning on changing their car in the next three years 58% are planning buying petrol and 33% diesel.

The most common reason for not choosing diesel is because their annual mileage is too low to justify the higher cost of buying a diesel vehicle (41%).

Government’s motoring priority

More than two fifths (44%) say that the government’s next top motoring priority should be increased spending on road maintenance so there are fewer potholes, better road markings etc.

Motoring taxes

Over half (56%) of AA members are concerned that motoring taxes (car tax, fuel duty) will increase following the general election result. Concern has fallen from 81% when the question was asked in September 2014.

Car tax

Only three quarters (77%) correctly think that when you buy a car privately the remaining months of car tax is cancelled with immediate effect – and the new keeper must tax (and insure) the car before driving it, and the previous keeper receives an automatic refund of any remaining whole months.

Hiring a car abroad

Three in ten (30%) have hired a car abroad within the last 5 years.

Among those who have hired a car abroad 36% have hired a car abroad, have a photocard licence and have also been asked to show the paper counterpart.


Three fifths (60%) of AA members whose car has a spare wheel say that if they suffered a puncture they would attempt to change the wheel themselves.

39% say that if their car suffered a puncture and they didn’t have a spare wheel but had tyre sealant/compressor kit in the boot then they would call someone for help without trying to use the sealant.

Pump prices

Almost a fifth (18%) say they have been restricting their car use for a long time because of volatile pump prices.

Dartford River Crossing

Over half (52%) are not aware of the Dartford River Crossing Free Flow Charging scheme while 30% say that they have heard of the scheme but have not used it since it started in November 2014.

Dogs in cars

30% of AA members have a dog, and among those with a dog four fifths (79%) say they have never left their dog unattended for more than 20 minutes.

12% say that they often leave their dog unattended with the window open.

April 2015

There were 18,688 responses to the motoring panel survey between 28 April and 6 May 2015

Windscreen-mounted cameras

One in twenty (5%) members have bought a dash-cam for their car and almost half (45%) say they are interested in buying one.

Speed limit alerts

Two thirds (67%) agree that cars should know the speed limit at all times and warn drivers when they exceed it but more than three fifths (63%) believe that there are times when a human may know the speed limit better than an electronic system in their car.

Four fifths (80%) say that if a device was fitted to their car that they could switch on and off and that when switched on would prevent them from exceeding the speed limit they would use it.

Main car

Almost half (48%) say that the main car they drive is the only car in their household and the only car that they drive.

Among those who drive, a third (33%) say they drive less than 5 miles every day and three fifths (58%) say they park their main car off the road on a driveway alongside or in front of their home at night.

Electric and plug-in hybrid cars

Three quarters (74%) of members argued that although electric cars may be cheaper to run now, the government will find a way to tax them if they become more popular. A similar proportion (71%) believed this would also be the same for plug-in hybrid cars.

More than two thirds (69%) suggest that the driving range on a single charge electric car is still too low.

Two thirds (65%) say that electric cars are too expensive for them to even consider.

Spare wheels

Among those who drive, half (49%) say there is a full-size spare wheel in the boot of their car. Three in ten (30%) say there is a skinny/temporary use spare wheel in their boot, and almost a fifth (18%) say there is a tyre sealant/inflation kit in the boot of the main car they drive, which is up from 9% when the same question was asked in January 2013.

Parking Charges

8% of AA members have received at least one Parking Charge Notice from a parking enforcement company (not the local council or police) for parking in a private car park or on private land/road in the last year.

86% of members think that parking spaces are often too small compared to the size of modern car.

More than half (52%) of AA members say they don’t have any interest in using pay-by-phone to pay for car parking charges, and a quarter (24%) think that mobile phone car park payment schemes should not be introduced at all.

March 2015

There were 16,863 responses to the motoring panel survey between 18 and 24 March 2015.

Easter Driving

The most popular days for driving over Easter were going to be Thursday 2 April and Saturday 4 April with nearly half (47%) of respondents planning to drive on each day.

Members are least likely to drive on Easter Monday, 58% of respondents stated that they did not plan to drive on this day.

Condition of roads and road markings

Residential roads and main roads are thought to be in the worst condition, each receiving a mean score of 5 on a scale where 10 is excellent, followed by trunk roads which receive a score of 6.

Motorways are the roads thought to be in the best condition and receive an average score of 7.

The condition of road markings is perceived as being the worst on residential streets which received an average score of 5, followed by main roads which received an average score of 6.

Motorways have the highest average scores for the condition of their road marking at 8 and trunk road roads the second highest with an average rating of 7.

Driverless cars

Two thirds (65%) of respondents say that they ‘enjoy driving too much to ever want a driverless car’.

Over half agree that ‘driverless cars would have to be segregated’ (56%) and that they ‘wouldn’t trust assurances that driverless cars were safe’ (57%).

Community speed watch

Over three fifths of respondents agreed that they felt uncomfortable with the idea of volunteers pointing a speed gun at their car (61%) and a similar number agreed that the only effective way to deal with speeding is through police and enforcement penalties (64%).

Just under a half (47%) agreed that CSW was just an excuse for local busybodies to interfere with their neighbours’ behaviour.

Claiming for injury

Over half (54%) agree that ‘Injury claims for crashes at very low speeds i.e. where there was no damage to the vehicle(s) should be dismissed as a matter of course’. Men are more likely to agree to this than women (57% vs. 48%)

Two-thirds (66%) agree that ‘Successful claims for injury compensation should be paid through care provision such as physiotherapy rather than in cash’.

Pavement parking

One in ten think that it is okay to park on the pavement as long as you leave enough room for pedestrians.

One in six (16%) say that parking on the pavement in their area has become chaotic and creates a hazard. 

Private Car ownership

Almost four-fifths (79%) of respondents agreed that they would be stuck if they did not own their own car, but a fifth of respondents (19%) agreed that they could envisage a time in the future where they would not need their own car.

15% of respondents agreed that if insurance could be arranged they would be happy to share a car with friend/neighbours.

Buying a used car

For nearly two thirds (58%) of those who had bought a used car in the past three years it was a completely trouble free experience and 45% would recommend the dealer they used to others.

February 2015

There were 20,046 responses to the motoring panel survey between 17 and 24 February 2015.

Speed awareness/driving courses

A sixth (17%) of AA members have been on a driver improvement (speed awareness) course to avoid a fine and points on their licence.

82% of people who have been on a course say it has made them a better/safer driver.

Speed limits

61% said that the national speed limit for lorries on dual carriageways (not motorways) in the UK is 50mph, which is correct for those weighing more than 7.5 tonnes.

61% think that the motorway speed limit should be increased to 80mph with 25% saying it should be 80mph and enforced strictly, and 36% saying it should be 80mph and enforced as the 70mph limit currently is.

Driving in Europe

12% drive their own car in Europe at least once a year while almost three fifths (57%) say they never drive their own car in Europe.

Personal injury

75% of those involved in a no fault accident in the past three years have been contacted in the last 12 months by a firm encouraging them to claim money for personal injury.

On average those who have been called have been contacted 7 times in the past 12 months.

Due dates

The most common thing AA members accidentally fail to renew is their car MOT (26%).

Stop signs

11% say that they slow down a look carefully for traffic but generally do not quite stop unless they have to.

January 2015

There were 18,806 responses to the motoring panel survey between 19 and 27 January 2015.


Over half (56%) of members have stopped on a motorway hard shoulder, which is broadly similar to when the question was last asked in September 2012 (58%). The most common reason for doing so is because their car broke down (60% among those who have stopped).

Wet weather

73% report that there are one or two notorious spots where big puddles develop on the roads near where they live, but locals know about them and just put up with it.

Two thirds of drivers (66%) believe that local councils don’t seem to clear drains as well as they used to.

Street lights

Half (50%) of members agree that switching off street lights between 12 midnight and 5am sounds like a good initiative to cut costs and reduce CO2 emissions. This has fallen slightly from 54% in February 2014.

There were concerns over safety though, as over half of AA motoring panel members agreed that turning off street lights after midnight will encourage vandalism and bad behaviour (55%), and encourage more serious crimes, such as burglary (57%).


Over half (56%) say that the recent drop in fuel prices has made no difference to their car use or spending. A quarter (24%) say that they have not done anything differently because they expect fuel prices to go up again soon.

Holiday plans

53% of respondents are planning to take a holiday during 2015 where they will be driving a car, either in the UK or abroad. This has fallen by 9 points from January 2014.

The majority of driving holidays will take place in the UK (40%), but 9% of AA members will take a holiday abroad and will drive there from the UK.

Car mileage

12% of AA members expect to drive more in 2015 compared with 2014, and a similar proportion expect to drive less (13%).

Among those members who are expecting to drive more the most common reason for this is because their family circumstances have changed (29%).


AA members say that if another vehicle starts tailgating them on the motorway/dual carriage way they would be most likely to change lanes (41%).

If another vehicle starts tailgating on a single carriageway road then the most common thing AA members do is ignore it (37%), followed by slowing down (32%).


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December 2014

There were 16,165 responses to the motoring panel survey between 8 and 16 December 2014.

New Year's resolutions

The most popular resolutions were to try and walk more (13%), to try to drive more economically (12%) and to cycle more (5%).

Changing your car

71% of AA members plan to change their car in the next 5 years and 20% plan to do so in the next 12 months.

The main reason given is because the current car is too old and needs replacing (49%) and the main way to pay for their new car is by using savings they have already made.

Using a smartphone/tablet

The proportion of AA members who use a smartphone daily/most days has increased by 10% between February 2013 and December 2014 (47% to 57%).

Twitter use among AA members remains stable at 8%, and Facebook use on a daily/most days basis has increased slightly from 33% to 37%.

Ultra Low Emission Zone

AA members are divided on their opinion of ULEZs with an equal proportion supporting and opposing (both 41%)

Winter weather

Over half (52%) of AA members say that in past winters following snowfall and several days of freezing temperatures their road becomes an ice rink and it becomes a real challenge getting their car out to a (gritted) main road.

Internal diagnostic socket

Half (49%) of AA members are aware that it is possible to get a device that plugs into the internal diagnostic socket on most modern cars which can provide information on the vehicle’s health, the driver’s driving behaviour, fuel usage and can help to get cheaper insurance quotes. Younger respondents and men are the most aware.

November 2014

There were 19,887 responses to the motoring panel survey between 18 and 26 November 2014.

Motorway breakdowns

Over half (53%) of AA members say that if their car was to suffer a puncture on a stretch of motorway without a hard shoulder (‘smart’ motorway/all lanes running) then they would try to drive on to the nearest emergency refuge (lay-by).

More than a third (37%) said that they would try to move across to the left and stop in lane 1, but as far off the road as possible.

The majority (90%) say that if they were driving on a motorway and signs (roadside or overhead gantry) displayed a red ‘X’ over the lane that they were driving in, then they would move immediately into an adjacent lane and stay there until a further sign gives the all clear.


On average AA members said that the maximum depth of flood water flowing across the full width of a road that they would be happy to drive through, rather than turn around and make a detour is 36cm. This has increased 4cm from October 2013 (average: 32cm).

Tax disc

Following the abolition of the tax disc on 1 October 2014 just a fifth (20%) say that they have removed their tax disc from their vehicle. 43% say that they are leaving it to remind them when the tax is next due.

Car park damage

Just over half (51%) say that their car has been damaged whilst parked in a car park in the last 12 months.

Among those who have had their car damaged, the majority (91%) says that this was due to a dent or a scratch caused by somebody else.

Three-fifths (59%) of those who have had their car damaged in a car park in the last 12 say that it happened in a supermarket car park.

Drinking and driving

AA members say that if were going out for an evening with family or friends and the occasion was going to involve drinking alcohol, they would be most likely to agree a designated driver beforehand (54%).


On average, AA members believe the national speed limit for lorries on single carriageway roads in non-built up areas of the UK is nearly 10mph higher than reality; 49mph. This was the same average given in January 2014.

From early 2015 the national speed limit for lorries of more than 7.5 tonnes on single carriageway roads in non-built-up areas will increase from 40mph to 50mph, and a third (36%) of members think that this is a good idea, increasing to 43% among those who correctly identified 40mph when guessing the speed limit (previous question).

Autumn statement

The Prime Minister recently told the annual CBI (Confederation of British Industry) conference that the Autumn statement (in December) will announce “the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching road improvement programme in four decades: over 100 improvements to our major roads. Hundreds of extra lane miles on our motorways and trunk roads” – almost three quarters (71%) of AA members support a roads programme on this scale.

October 2014

There were 19,303 responses to the motoring panel survey between 15 and 21 October 2014

Condition of roads

Respondents in the UK were on average displeased most with the general state of pavements in residential areas than anything else, with a mean rating of 5.07/10 (5.03/10 in October 2013).

Men were on average least satisfied with the current condition of road markings on the roads.

Using mobiles

8 in 10 (83%) of AA members ‘get annoyed’ when they see another driver using a handheld mobile phone but ‘don’t really react’ to it.

11% say that seeing another driver on their mobile when driving annoys them and they react; 10% let the driver know by gesticulating, and 1% have attempted to stop another driver and let them know.

Learning to drive

Safety is the main concern of parents when their children reached/will reach driving age, with 3 in 10 (29%) AA members worried about ‘their safety once they can drive themselves’ and 2 in 10 (20%) worried about ‘their safety when their friends with cars are driving them’.

Vulnerable road users

Car drivers (29%) are perceived as the most considerate group towards vulnerable road users.  AA members think that van drivers are the least considerate towards vulnerable road users with 28% of members saying this.

Severe weather conditions

2 in 5 (44%) say they would choose another route in the event of flood warnings.

In the event of a sudden change to winter weather, 9 in 10 (94%) would carry practical items in their car boot.

September 2014

There were 17,874 responses to the motoring panel survey between 16 and 24 September 2014.

Fuel choice

Three-fifths (60%) of AA members say that their main car uses petrol, two-fifths (39%) say that their main car uses diesel, and the remaining 1% have hybrid cars.

Over a third (34%) of diesel drivers said that they chose this type of fuel for low overall running costs, compared to only 13% of petrol drivers saying this.

Motoring issues

The top motoring concern for AA members approaching 2015 is the condition of roads (maintenance, lighting, signs etc), with almost half saying this.

The second highest ranking concern was the cost of motoring (e.g. taxes, tolls, parking, petrol prices, insurance etc).

The top thing that people want more public money spent on in the coming months and years is road maintenance.

General Election

Voluntary training schemes for qualified drivers came out as the top idea for the forthcoming election campaign (in May 2015), with 7 in 10 (71%) saying that this is a good idea.

A large majority of AA members are concerned that motoring taxes (VED, fuel duty) and motoring costs (road pricing, tolls, fuel, parking) will increase following the election in 2015.

Minister for Transport

AA President Edmund King came top of the list with a fifth (18%) of AA members saying they would vote for him to be the Minister for Transport.  Richard Branson (11%) was second and Jeremy Clarkson (11%) third).

Irritating drivers

The top ranking annoyance is drivers talking on their mobile phone whilst driving - a third (31%) of members said that this irritates them the most.

Second and third were tailgating (27%) and middle lane hogging (15%).

Driving offences

More than three quarters (76%) of AA members think it is acceptable for police to use speed cameras at the side of the road to identify vehicles involved in speeding offences.

Family cars

In top place, almost three-fifths (57%) think that good reliability is the most important feature of a family car.

Good fuel economy was ranked second (40%) and low running costs third with almost two-fifths (38%) saying this.

If money was no object, more than a third (36%) would have a self-vacuuming floor in their fantasy family car and this is the top ranking feature.

A third (32%) said that if they were buying a car their partner/spouse would influence their choice of car the most.  1 in 10 (11%) would be influenced most by motoring writers/reviews.


August 2014

There were 18,336 responses to the motoring panel survey between 12 and 20  August 2014

Surface dressing

43% of AA members think that surface dressing is a good way of maintaining roads but 44% believe it risks damage to vehicles and property caused by loose chippings

Smoking in cars

70%of AA members are in support making it an offence to smoke in a private vehicle with someone under 18 present

Insurance and cars from dealers

97% correctly understood that it is their responsibility to make sure a car is insured when collected

Car windscreens

42% would contact their insurance company if they got a crack or stone chip in their windscreen

Bank holiday

18% of respondents were planning to drive somewhere with 38% of those going saying they would go to the coast/seaside

Car tax discs

51% did not know that unexpired road tax cannot be transferred to a person acquiring their car after 1 October 2014

60% did not know that the previous registered keeper of a vehicle will get a refund for full unexpired months when a car is transferred

Fuel stations

31% do grocery shopping (4% frequently) at fuel stations

July 2014

There were 16,606 responses to the motoring panel survey between 15 and 24  July 2014.

Road safety

More than two-fifths (42%) of AA members think that the biggest road safety issue is poor driving standards (excessive speed, tailgating etc.).

Breaking down abroad

If their car broke down abroad, the thing AA members would be most concerned about is the chance of being ripped off by a garage (80%).

New passenger cars

Almost half (48%) think that sensing and automatic braking to prevent a low speed crash in a city will be available as standard by 2020.

Driving offences

When thinking about the use of CCTV cameras to enforce general parking restrictions and moving traffic offences, more than four-fifths (83%) are concerned that cameras cannot judge mitigating circumstances in the same way a policeman or a parking attendant can do.

Traffic police officers

Overall respondents seem fairly satisfied with the number of dedicated traffic police officers on UK roads.

Driving licenses

63% also say that they would be happy for their prospective insurer to have online access to their driving licence information.

School holidays

Thinking about the school holidays, 46% say that they have plenty of ideas for days out but they are so expensive that they have to limit the number of trips they take.

Days out and holiday accommodation

For days out in the UK over two-thirds(63%) search the internet for ideas, 53% get recommendations from friends and family, and 36% look at adverts or travel articles in newspapers, magazines and online.

Drivers’ behaviour

7 in 10 (72%) say that drivers generally seem to be in a hurry are not considerate enough to each other.

Financial compensation

46% of AA members agree that road users who are held up by excessive roadwork or incident related congestion on strategic roads should be compensated in a similar way to delayed rail travellers.


June 2014

There were 18,026 responses to the motoring panel survey between  10 and 19 June 2014.

Careless or dangerous driving

Half (50%) agree that road collisions should be treated very seriously and in order to show this, it is necessary to arrest drivers in situations where there has been a fatality.

The majority of members agree that the following offences constituted dangerous, as opposed to careless, driving offences in the event of a fatal collision:

  • Road rage – 89%
  • Taking a photo on a mobile phone – 88%
  • Speaking on a hand held mobile – 81%
  • Crossing solid double white lines in the path of a vehicle - 77%

Almost two thirds (65%) of members say that speaking on a hands-free mobile should result in the less serious offence of causing death by careless driving.


Of those who have been distracted, had a near miss or caused a crash the most common reason for this was due to adult passengers (47%).

Other more common reasons for being distracted, having a near miss or having a crash were due to operating the radio controls (42%), children in the car (37%), and using a sat-nav (33%).

87% agree (68% strongly) that it is the driver’s sole responsibility to ensure that ‘infotainment’ technology systems in their car do not result in them interacting with it and being distracted whilst driving.

Fuel prices

7 in 10 (69%) members have taken advantage of supermarket money-off fuel vouchers this year.

More than half (55%) say that they are still careful about car use and fuel spend because of the big increase in gas and electricity prices last winter.


Two fifths (40%) say that drainage is no better now than it was during the winter storms and pools of water/big puddles remain a threat to drivers and other road users.

3 in 10 (29%) think that drainage has got better

EU Driving

78% believe it should be possible for drivers to be identified and prosecuted for illegally using a mobile telephone while driving abroad.  73% say the same for failing to stop at a red traffic light, and 70% for speeding while driving abroad.

Motorway management

Over a third (37%) ranked road surface as most important when managing and maintaining motorways and trunk roads.

1 in 6 (17%) ranked junction design and safety in 1st place, while 1 in 8 (13%) say that reducing congestion is the most important thing for the Highways Agency to focus on.

Driving behaviour

Almost half (48%) of AA members would not be prepared to pass through a red traffic light if their vehicle was blocking the progress of an emergency vehicle with their sirens sounding and beacons flashing.

A third (31%) would not be prepared to exceed the speed limit in such a situation and 1 in 8 (13%) would not be prepared to stop in a yellow box junction.

Almost three fifths (57%) of AA members say that if their vehicle was to breakdown on a normal motorway and the weather was warm/dry, then they would wait outside as far away from the carriageway as possible.

Despite the dangers, 1 in 6 (16%) would wait inside their vehicle if they broke down on the motorway and the weather was cold/wet. Falling to 3% if the weather was warm/dry.

What to do if you break down »

Motoring concerns

Almost half (48%) say that the risk of death or injury on the roads e.g. mobile phones, drink driving, safe roads is their top motoring concern.

Over a quarter (27%) say that the state of the roads (e.g. congestion, potholes, and signage) is their top concern.


Almost two thirds (64%) say that having more dedicated cycle paths is a top priority for cycling in their area, while over half (56%) say the top priority should be mutual respect on the road between cyclists and other road users.

Regarding the top 3 hazards encountered by cyclists in their local area, over half (52%) say vehicles overtaking too close, and 46% say unsafe road surfaces.

Two fifths (38%) think that cycling is taken seriously by their local council.

Over half (52%) of respondents think that one of British cycling’s top priorities should be to cycle proof roads that accommodate cycling so that it becomes safer, more convenient and more desirable.

Almost half (47%) say that ensuring that all children receive cycle training should be a top priority.

May 2014

There were 23,085 responses to the May Motoring panel survey between 7 and 15 May 2014.

Travel insurance

69% say that they take out travel insurance when they go on holiday to a European country outside of the UK. Older respondents are the most likely to take out a general annual policy, with 38% of those aged 55 and above saying they do.

12% say that they buy the cheapest travel insurance they can find.

Almost half (44%) of those who don’t buy travel insurance say that the reason for this is because their credit card/bank account provides free travel cover.

19% say that the reason they do not buy travel insurance when holidaying in Europe is because they carry their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Driving on a hot sunny day

When driving on a hot sunny day 42% close all the windows and turn the air-con down a degree or two, while 41% open all the windows and/or sunroof in order to try and keep cool.

One in twenty (5%) like to throw back the convertible roof and enjoy the ‘wind in their hair’ on a hot sunny day.

Only a third (35%) take some form of precaution against sun burn when driving in sunny weather with open windows/sun roof/ convertible roof. 1 in 6 (16%) have been sun burnt in the past whilst driving on either their arms or head.

Breaking down in Europe

18% of those who have been in a vehicle in Europe say that they have broken down - 15% had breakdown cover and 3% did not.

Long car journeys

Among those who drive in Europe, the top concerns about undertaking a long journey are being involved in an accident (22%), breaking down (17%), and not knowing the language (17%).

For long journeys in the UK the top concerns are congestion (25%), being involved in an accident (17%), and breaking down (14%).

A third (33%) say that they plan to break a long journey with a stop for a meal/snack at a motorway service area.

1 in 7 (14%) will only stop on a long car journey if they need a toilet break or fuel.

Arguments in the car

Directions are the top thing that AA members say have caused arguments in the car, with two-fifths (39%) saying this.

1 in 6 (16%) say that arguments have been caused by driving too fast and 1 in 8 (13%) say that getting lost but not stopping to ask for directions has caused arguments.

Summer car tunes

AA members favour more classic songs when driving in the summers. ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles was the most popular summer track that respondents like to drive to.

Summer holiday plans

50% expect to take more day trips or short breaks this summer and two-fifths (38%) say that they expect to drive more in the UK this summer.

Almost a third (30%) of AA members say that they always have a summer holiday in the UK, whatever the weather, and a quarter (26%) say that they will always have a summer holiday abroad.

Given the money and opportunity, one fifth (19%) of members say that they would like to try a narrow boat on the canal as their UK summer holiday, closely followed by 18% saying they would like to try staying in a historic building or castle. More than 1 in 10 would like to have a go at touring the UK in a campervan.

Other summer road users

The most popular pet hate of other road users in the summer is throwing rubbish out of the window, with more than a third (34%) of members saying this is what annoys them most.

15% are most annoyed by slow caravans on the road in summer while 1 in 8 (13%) are annoyed by groups of cyclists on the roads.

Motoring holidays in the UK

Over two-fifths say that the UK’s varied and attractive landscape is the best thing about a motoring holiday in the UK.

13% say that the best thing about a motoring holiday in the UK is the familiar rules and regulations.

12% say that the best thing is that you are near home in case anything goes wrong.

April 2014

There were 21,201 responses to the April motoring panel survey between 15 and 25 April 2014.

Road atlases

The majority of AA members (88%) have a road atlas, and the likelihood of ownership increases with age.

Around one in ten respondents (12%) have a current 2014 road atlas, with 3% admitting to buying a new one each year.

The most common reason for using an atlas is for planning the route of a road journey prior to setting off (54%).

76% of drivers surveyed agree that a road atlas gives a better overview of a journey than a sat-nav, with 65% suggesting that a printed road atlas is still essential to double-check routes.

Self-test breathalysers

91% agree that it’s better not to drink at all than relying on self-testing using a breathalyser.

68% admit that the only reason they’d buy a self-test breathalyser is if they were driving to France, where they’d be legally required to carry one.

Used cars

Eight in ten survey respondents would be more likely to choose a dealer that had all its cars independently mechanically checked (81%), or choose a car that had been individually checked (82%), over one that had not.

70% would be happy to pay more for a used car that had been checked, compared with an identical car that had not.

Scrapping an old car

The majority (51%) say that having official records updated and making sure the DVLA know they’re no longer responsible for the car is the issue that would be most important to them when arranging to scrap an old car.

Of least concern in the event of scrapping a car would be convenience (Someone coming to take the car away) – 13%, and the environment (Knowing that the car was to be de-polluted and recycled responsibly) – 11%.

Commuting to work

Among all AA members who commute to work, travelling by car is the most common form of transport used (77%). 6% walk or get the train, and 3% cycle or get the bus.

The average distance working respondents commute each day is 15 miles each way.

Those people travelling by train to work each day tend to travel the furthest (approximately 28 miles each way).

Among those who commute by car or motorcycle, 17% estimate that they spend more time travelling than this time last year, and nearly a quarter (24%) have changed their daily commute in order to reduce costs, with 7% opting for a car sharing scheme, 4% using a bicycle and 3% moving onto public transport.

Toll booths at the Dartford River Crossing

Among all respondents, 14% were aware of the upcoming changes to the toll booths at the Dartford River Crossing on the M25, and 12% anticipate being affected by the change.

31% of those in the East of England and 22% living in the South East think they will be affected when the toll booths no longer accept cash from October 2014, as well as 20% of Londoners.

Car warning lights

If a red warning light came on in their car whilst they were driving, just over half (53%) would stop as soon as possible and check their vehicle handbook, and 26% think they would stop as soon as possible and call their breakdown provider.

If an amber/orange warning light came on in their car, 3% would continue driving and ignore it, but around half (49%) would stop as soon as they could and consult the handbook.

Vehicle handbook

67% of AA members have their car handbook stored inside their main car and refer to it occasionally.

13% say they frequently refer to their car handbook they keep in the car, but 11% admit to storing their handbook outside of the vehicle.

March 2014

There were 23,911 responses to the March motoring panel survey between 17 and 24 March 2014

Driving to Europe

4 out of 5 respondents (80%) believe that you are legally obliged to carry a warning triangle in France, whereas just over half of respondents (55%) think that you need to when driving in Spain.

65% of AA members believe that you are legally obliged to carry a first aid kit in France, and 45% believe the same for the Netherlands.

45% of members think that you need to carry a breathalyser in France, compared to Belgium 15%, Netherlands 13%, and Spain 10%.

Generally there seems to be a lack of awareness that you are required to carry an original copy of your vehicle registration document whenever you travel abroad. Only 48% of AA members believe this to be the case for France, 38% Belgium, 37% Spain, and 36% Netherlands.

What's the right answer?

The question asked about what is legally required rather than what is recommended.

  • You must carry the original of your Vehicle registration document wherever you drive abroad, along with originals of your driving licence and insurance certificate.
  • You’re not legally required to carry a first aid kit or spare pair of spectacles (if required for driving) in any of the four countries listed.
  • A warning triangle must be carried in France, Belgium and Spain but this doesn’t apply to motorcycles.
  • A reflective jacket must be carried in France (not for motorcyclists) and Belgium and must be worn if you break down in Spain.
  • You must carry an NF approved breathalyser in France but will not be fined for not carrying one.
  • As far as headlamps are concerned the legal requirement is to not dazzle rather than specifically to carry beam deflectors.  Some headlamps can be adjusted internally, some don’t need adjustment, and some drivers manage to avoid driving in conditions where headlamps are required.  You can’t predict the weather though so we would recommend that you always have the means of adapting headlights to prevent dazzle when driving abroad.

Wherever you’re heading, read our country-specific touring tips and general advice for driving abroad.

Almost half (44%) of AA members have taken a vehicle abroad, and 12% do so at least one a year.

The vehicle of choice is most likely to be a car (43%), compared to motorhome (2%), caravan (2%), and motorbike (3%).

Almost 7 in 10 (68%) members agreed that price is the most important factor when considering how to transport their vehicle abroad.

68% agree that the Euro tunnel is more reliable because the service is not so affected by the weather (compared with taking the ferry).

Road conditions

Respondents were on average displeased most with the state of the road surfaces on residential streets close to where they live, with a mean rating of 4.25 out of 10.

Londoners were most satisfied with the condition of road markings on trunk roads close to where they live. The average was 5.73 out of 10, however those in London scored a mean rating of 6.38. Conversely, respondents in the South West were the least satisfied with a mean score of 5.40 out of 10.

Car fuel

Of those respondents who plan to change their car in the next 3 years, 42% are planning to choose a petrol car, and 39% a diesel vehicle.

Almost 1 in 10 (8%) plan to change their car for one with green fuel, the most popular being hybrid (6%), compared to plug-in hybrid (1%), and pure electric (1%). 12% of Londoners are likely to choose a hybrid car as their next car, compared to just 2% of those in Northern Ireland.

Easter travel plans

Almost one fifth (19%) of AA members have already planned to drive somewhere for a holiday or outing over the Easter weekend (18 April to 21 April).

5% are going somewhere over the Easter weekend, but not planning on driving while over a third (37%) are unsure and will decide last minute but if they do go somewhere they will drive there.

Local elections

For almost two fifths (38%) of AA members in England and Northern Ireland, motoring issues will be important in determining which party or candidate they decide to vote for in the local elections taking place in May.

February 2014

There were 24,351 responses to the February motoring panel survey between 21 February and 3 March.


Almost 1 in 10 (8%) of respondents go for ‘sightseeing’ walks or rambles for pleasure every day. This increases among respondents in the South West (10%), particularly in comparison to London where less than 1 in 20 (4%) walk for pleasure each day.

Women favour walks along the coast (35% vs. 30%) and in the countryside (34% vs. 30%). Whereas men prefer hills and mountains (14% vs. 8%).


Most AA motoring panel members are confident in their driving ability with 87% believing it very likely or fairly likely that if they were to re-take their driving test tomorrow they would pass the test.

Women were more likely than men to rely on a car to do the grocery shopping (87% vs. 82%), to visit friends and family (87% vs. 81%) and for social events and hobbies (78% vs. 71%).

Respondents aged 65 and over were the most concerned about giving up their driving license due to health reasons in older age, with almost two thirds (65%) saying that they worry about it.

When waiting in a queue of traffic younger drivers aged 18-24 were the most likely to keep the car in gear and their foot on the brake (23%), and those aged 65 and over were the least likely to (12%).

Street Lights

Over half (54%) of respondents agree that switching off street lights between 12 midnight and 5am sounds like a good initiative to cut costs and reduce CO2 emissions.

There were concerns over safety though, as over half of AA motoring panel members agreed that turning off street lights after midnight will encourage vandalism and bad behaviour (58%) and encourage more serious crimes, such as burglary (59%).

78% agree that local residents should be consulted before lights are switched off between 12 midnight and 5am in their area.

20mph Speed Limit

From a resident’s point of view 75% agree that 20mph zones should not include any roads where there are no houses, shops or schools, while almost 7 in 10 (69%) thought that residents should be consulted before a 20mph speed limit is set on their road.

From a driver’s point of view the majority of respondents (78%) said that they would welcome Speed Information Display signs to help them keep their speed down in 20mph zones.


The majority of respondents (81%) said that they would be happy to support a new deal for drivers/cyclists whereby both drivers and cyclists agree to abide by the rules of the road.

Three quarters (75%) of women, and almost three quarters (73%) of men said that they would welcome a campaign to remind drivers to check their mirrors for cycles and motorbikes.

Almost half (45%) of respondents agreed that if there were more dedicated cycle lanes it would encourage them to take up cycling or cycle more.

Used Cars

When buying a used car, over a quarter (28%) of respondents think that the most important thing to consider is whether the car has passed a detailed history/ data check.

For over a quarter (27%) of men the most important thing is to make sure that the car comes from a reputable dealer, compared with 23% of women.

Emergency Braking System

Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents said that they were not likely to pay for the optional extra of emergency braking if they were to buy a new car.  If the government were to provide a £500 cash incentive this figure reduced to half (50%).

January 2014

There were 23,700 responses to the January motoring panel survey between 20 and 27 January.


The majority of AA drivers are careful when driving near horses, and are aware of their vulnerabilities on the road. Almost all (96%) agree that they recognise that horse riders are vulnerable and that horses may behave erratically, so claim to always leave them plenty of space.

However, around 1 in 6 (17%) believe that horses just shouldn’t be allowed on roads at all.

First Aid

Two thirds (66%) of survey respondents have had at least some training in first aid and 43% say they would be confident that they could correctly give first aid if they were required to do so.

If they were the first person to arrive at the scene of a road traffic accident, the majority of respondents (56%) would stop their car and call the emergency services. A further 28% would get out of their car and try to make the scene safe by alerting oncoming traffic or blocking the road.


Half of AA members (52%) believe that reducing speed on motorways will make no difference to air pollution, with two thirds (69%) believing that it’s actually lorries that are a much bigger problem than cars when it comes to air pollution.

Motoring concerns

When thinking about motoring worries, the issue cited as the most concerning to AA members was the risk of death or injury on the roads due to mobile phones or drink driving (47%).

A further 24% of drivers said their biggest concern was the cost of motoring (e.g. fuel prices, taxes, tolls and parking costs)


62% of respondents are planning to take a holiday during 2014 where they will be driving a car.

The majority of driving holidays will take place in the UK (49%), but 11% of AA members will take a holiday abroad and will drive there from the UK, and 17% will take a fly-drive holiday, hiring a car upon arrival.

7% of respondents will be taking no holidays at all in 2014.


Only 21% of men and 15% of women correctly identified the the national speed limit for lorries on single carriageway roads in the UK.


Over half of respondents (59%) say they take pride in their car and like to keep it looking good , and 17% say they’re really proud of their car, and like to talk about it often.

1 in 7 drivers (15%) say they would never wash their car themselves and would always go to a hand carwash or valet facility, and a further 7% would always opt for a car wash machine.

Wet Road Conditions

71% report that there are one or two notorious spots where big puddles develop on the roads near where they live, but locals know about them and just put up with it.

Two thirds of drivers (67%) also believe that local councils don’t seem to clear drains as well as they used to.


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Decade of Action


December 2013

There were 17,629 responses to the December motoring panel survey between 12 and 17 December 2013.

Expenditure and the recession

When asked about how they might offset rising household energy costs during the winter, a higher proportion of respondents say they are likely to make savings in their road fuel and car use than their electricity and gas use (35% vs. 29%).

Over half of respondents agree that the economy may be picking up, but that they’re still feeling the pinch (54%).  A fifth (21%) argued that they never really noticed the recession anyway.

A quarter of AA members (25%) have made a conscious decision to travel less by car because of the cost of petrol and diesel in the past two years.

Car servicing

On the whole, AA members feel that their garage always tries to treat them as a valued customer (79% agreement), which may be why 77% always use the same garage.

Nearly 9-in-10 drivers (88%) think that trust and reliability are more important than price when choosing a garage to carry out a routine servicing or an MOT on their car.

Regular checks

AA members appear generally vigilant about checking the condition of their own cars although more than one in ten reported never checking their engine oil (6%) or not having checked it in the past six months (5%). Tyre pressures and tread depth are the most checked items.


93% say that they recognise that cyclists are vulnerable, and therefore always give them space on the road.

However, 91% also admit that it’s sometimes hard to see cyclists whilst driving, and around half have a negative opinion of them – 54% argue that cyclists are inconsiderate road users.

Car lighting

Nearly 8-in-10 drivers (79%) claim to frequently be dazzled by other cars’ headlights, and a further 72% think it’s actually becoming more difficult to drive at night because of the brightness of other vehicles’ lights.

New Year’s Resolutions

Nearly half of respondents (49%) would make a New Year’s resolution about their driving, with the most popular resolution being to drive more economically (14%).

11% of AA members think they might try and walk more in 2014, and 6% will try to drive less often.

Winter driving

99% of drivers surveyed say that they would adjust their driving if snow started to fall and settle on the road. 80% would slow their driving down a little and increase the distance between their car and other vehicles, and a further 1- in-8 (13%) would slow down a lot.

Treatment of other drivers

Almost half (47%) agree that they would leave more space in front if they were following a car being driven by someone elderly, and surprisingly this figure does not differ much between age groups.

A fifth (22%) say they would be more likely to give way to a classic car, and a similar proportion (20%) say they would be less likely to give way to a 4x4 or expensive luxury car.

Tax discs

In light of the government announcement that paper tax disks are to be abolished from October 2014, 65% of AA members are wary that other drivers will simply not renew their tax, and take a chance on being caught.  Only 2% admit to be tempted not to renew their own vehicle tax!

Nearly half (47%) are concerned that without a paper tax disk to remind them they will be more likely to forget to renew their vehicle tax on time.

Journey recall

Worringly, 7-in-10 respondents (71%) have experienced the feeling that they can’t recall the last few moments (or longer) of their car journey whilst driving.

November 2013 survey

There were 21,587 responses to the November Motoring panel survey between 14-21 November 2013.

Winter motoring

An ice scraper and de-icer are the most likely items to be carried in the car during the winter(86%).

Just 5% of respondents said that they would carry tyre chains.

Respondents from London were the least likely to take any measures to prepare their car for winter (87%), while those from Scotland were the most likely to (95%).

Digital radios

Less than half of respondents (45%) had heard about a potential Digital Radio Switchover.

Almost a quarter of respondents (24%) said that they will ensure that the next car they buy already has a digital radio but that they have no plans to convert their car.

16% of respondents already had digital radio in their car, with the majority of them (90%) being very satisfied with it.

Road network management

The vast majority of respondents (82%) stated that if there is a transferral of motorway management, there must be a roads ‘watchdog’ which has legal power to ensure road users are protected and get a fair deal.

Driving ban

92% of respondents felt that they would be affected in some manner by losing their car, and 72% of respondents said that it would have a negative impact on their quality of life.

Over a quarter of respondents (27%) would have to give up their job because they wouldn’t be able to get to work.

Christmas driving

The days on which respondents were least likely to use their car for a journey of over 20 miles during the festive period were Christmas Day (22% of respondents), 29 December (20%), and New Year’s Day (17%)

Almost half (46%) of respondents aged 25-34 were expecting to use their car for a journey/journeys of over 20 miles on Christmas Eve with the majority of these going to see family or friends (25%).

On average, AA respondents would be prepared to drive 1.5 hours in a single day during the Christmas period to avoid an overnight stay.

Festive drinking

The average amount of alcohol respondents thought that they would consume on New Year's eve was 5.63 units.

On average 18-24 year olds thought they would consume the most units (7.41).

Political issues

The conservative party was identified as the most motorist friendly by AA members with 13% of respondents saying this.

A quarter of all respondents (25%) felt that none of the main political parties were motorist-friendly, and half (50%) of all respondents were unfamiliar with any of the parties’ policies regarding motorists.

Price of petrol

Almost half of all respondents (45%) said that they had made a conscious decision to travel less by car because of the cost of petrol/diesel.

Ice and Snow

46% of respondents claim to be satisfied that the footpaths and roads where they live are kept relatively free of ice and snow.

October 2013 survey

There were 21,165 responses to the October Motoring Panel survey between 11-17 October 2013.

New cars

Three quarters of respondents intended to change their car in the next 5 years, with just over a quarter (27%) anticipated making a switch in the upcoming 12 months.

Most respondents intended to purchase a nearly new car (28%) while 11% wanted to change to a car that was cheaper to run.


85% agree that it's sometimes hard to see motorcyclists while 92% recognise that motorcyclists are vulnerable and always give them space - surprisingly 3% disagree that motorcyclists are vulnerable and 3% admit to not always looking out for motorcyclists.

Road condition

Respondents were on average displeased most with the general state of pavements in residential areas than anything else, with a mean rating of 5.03/10.

Drivers in Northern Ireland consistently topped the survey for their average ratings of their road surfaces across all road types. They rated the condition of their main roads as 6.10/10, whilst road users in Scotland were least satisfied, scoring just an average of 4.89/10.

Driving confidence

Compacted ice and snow were the conditions drivers felt least confident. Women feel the least confident in these conditions, with 11% admitting to feeling terrified.


Overall the majority of respondents (44%) felt that when they would legally be allowed to drive the morning after drinking 12 units of alcohol would largely depend on their body weight, the amount of food they had eaten, their age, etc.

September 2013 survey

There were 25,064 responses to the AA-Populus Motoring Panel Survey between 16-23 September 2013.

Bad habits

Tailgating is the behaviour found to be most annoying among drivers, with 36% of respondents claiming it’s what irritates them the most.  Women are more likely to cite it as an issue than men

Speed cameras

79% of respondents deem it acceptable that police are now using cameras to identify speeding vehicles.

Cameras are supported by 87% of women compared with 74% of men. Respondents in Scotland are most

Car crime

5% of respondents claim that they have been the victim of any type of car crime over the last three years.

There is a wide regional variation of levels of car crime experienced, with 12% of Londoners, and only 3% of those in Scotland and Northern Ireland having been victims in the past three years.

21% of respondents don't always take measures to reduce the risk of theft.

Respondents are more likely to ignore a car alarm if they hear one when away from home than if they hear one ringing on their own street.


Just under half of AA members are aware of the Euro NCAP new car safety rating programme (48%), with roughly an equal split between those who did and did not take Euro NCAP ratings into account when choosing a new car (23% and 25% respectively).


Most respondents claim that listening to music never affects the way they drive (52%).

Of those who state that listening to music whilst driving does affect them, many claim that doing so is likely to make them less attentive on the road; just over a quarter at 26%.


When asked what their immediate response would be to an oncoming car that flashes it’s lights, most respondents would assume they meant for them to slow down as there was danger ahead (58%), compared to just 14% who would assume it meant there was something physically wrong with their vehicle.

Flash for cash

36% of AA members surveyed would be at least mildly interested in buying a ‘dash-cam’, while 29% of respondents weren’t aware that such a thing existed at all.

A majority (90%) are aware of ‘flash for cash’ or ‘crash for cash’ scams. Whilst half (50%) do not really think about such scams when driving, four-in-ten (40%) admit to taking special care to avoid becoming victim of such scams.

Drink driving

40% of respondents do not believe there should be any change to the drink drive limit, with more men than women agreeing that it should stay the same (46% and 28% respectively).


59% are unlikely to use a website that would allow them to use other people’s driveways to park their cars at a lower cost, whilst 22% said that they would be likely.


August 2013 survey

There were 23,824 responses to the August AA-Populus Motoring Panel survey between 8 and 14 August.

Bank Holiday

Almost a fifth (19%) of AA members plan to drive somewhere over the bank holiday weekend.  Just over a quarter (26%) of AA members may decide at the last minute to drive somewhere over this period.

About half (51%) of those who may drive over the bank holiday will be going on a day trip. Over a quarter (27%) will be going away for the weekend.

The coast or seaside is the most popular choice for a driving outing or holiday with 41% of those who may drive saying they are likely to go there.


The top 5 favourite motorways in the UK are the M5 and M40 (5% each), and the M1, M6 (toll) and M6 (with 4% each).

The least favourite motorway in the UK by far is the M25, as mentioned by 30% of AA members.

Maps and navigation

Just over a third (35%) of AA members use both a sat-nav and map in the car for directions.

Printed road maps remain the most popular type of map with 88% of respondents saying that they use them. Online maps are also popular and are used by 83% of respondents.

Three-quarters (76%) of AA members use the AA route planner.

Cost of fuel

About two thirds of AA members (64%) have been able to absorb the increases in the price of fuel in the past 18 months.

A fifth (20%) have had their budget close to breaking point at times, while 13% have had to dip into their savings and a tenth (10%) have gone into overdraft at least once.

Parking and penalties

80% of AA members agree that these are important for road safety and 85% think they are important to keep traffic moving or limit congestion.

77% agree that there should be a review of all double yellow lines to ensure restrictions are only applied where necessary.

Less than a third (29%) think that drivers should be permitted to park on double yellow lines for a short period.

Almost half (49%) of AA members think that the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for civil parking offences of £70 maximum for outside London in about right, while 43% think that it is too high.

About half (51%) think that the PCN maximum of £130 for inside London is too high - 71% of Londoners think that this is too high.

Buying a car

The three life milestones most likely to cause one to buy or change cars are passing a driving test (28%), change of job (26%) or retiring (21%).

New drivers

Overall, AA members felt most prepared for rural driving (81%), rban driving (77%), driving in heavy traffic (72%), and driving with passengers (71%) when they passed their driving tests.

They felt the most unprepared for motorway driving (51%) and driving in poor weather (43%).

The suggestion that drivers should be prevented from carrying younger passengers and restricted to driving at certain times in their first year of licensed driving was generally less well received by younger respondents.

Almost a third of AA members agree that these restrictions would have prevented them from helping their parents with errands (35%), would have adversely affected their social lives (35%), made it more difficult to get to and from work (34%), prevented them from giving lifts to siblings (34%) and from being the designated driver for friends (29%).

However, 12% of respondents think that these restrictions would have helped them to avoid a situation where they crashed their car.

July 2013 survey

Populus received 19,949 responses from AA members to its online poll between 11th and 18th July 2013.

Car repairs

In the last five years only 4% of members have had a problem related to car servicing/repair that needed intervention via an industry conciliation/ arbitration system.

25% of respondents said that they are aware of the Motor Industry Code of Practice for service and repair, falling to only 12% of 25-34 year olds.

Motorway driving

Overall 72% failed to indentify the correct description for lane one of a motorway with over half (49%) incorrectly selecting 'slow lane' and 5% selecting 'lorry lane'. 

More than one in 10 (12%) potential 'lane hoggers' incorrectly identified lane 2 as the 'cruising lane'.

Almost 1 in 5 consider lane 3 (nearest the central reservation) to be the 'fast lane' rather than an overtaking lane.

Almost a third of respondents (29%) say that they tend to stay in lane 2 when driving on the motorway in moderate, flowing traffic. This rises to 38% in London and 41% among the 18-24 age group.  One in 10 (10%) of those aged 18-34 said that they tend to stay in lane 3! 

Over half (51%) of AA members revealed no-one taught them how to drive on the motorway, rising to 61% of respondents aged over 65. 1 in 5 (21%) said that they were taught by a family member or friend while 15% claim at least to have read the Highway Code on the subject. 

Used cars

Nearly a quarter of AA members (23%) had bought a used car which had a mechanical or other fault about which they had been misled at the time of sale.

11% suspected the used car they bought had been involved in an accident, 5% suspected the car had been clocked and 1% suspected the car had finance outstanding.

Government spending on transport

Opinion on the Government’s recently reaffirmed commitment to the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line is mixed. 34% of AA members support the scheme, 36% oppose the idea and 30% neither support or oppose the idea. 

Four-fifths (81%) of AA members agree that ‘it is about time the government invested more’ in the road network after it was revealed that the government will increase the capital budget for the Department of transport.  However, one-third (36%) think that road building and repair on such a large scale will cause unacceptable traffic disruption and delay.

Older respondents have the most faith in government to deliver their plans on time, 62% of AA members over 65 agree compared to only 42% of 18-24 year olds. 

Driver penalties and fines

AA members think a fixed penalty charge (£100) being applied to drivers who stop on a motorway hard shoulder is highly dependent on the circumstance.

Circumstances where members agree the penalty charge should apply include stopping to make a phone call or send a text message (85%) stopping to check a map (77%) and stopping for a toilet break (68%).

Respondents strongly disagree with the £100 penalty charge in circumstances out of the driver’s control, such as a flat tyre, mechanical breakdown or road traffic accident (92%, 94% and 90% respectively.

Uninsured drivers

81% of AA members think the fixed penalty increasing from £200 to £300 for driving an uninsured car is not tough enough, and 71% of AA members think six penalty points is not enough for driving an uninsured car.

95% of respondents agree that a driving ban should be imposed for the most serious offences where an uninsured driver is convicted in court, while 81% agree that the uninsured car should be confiscated.

45% of AA members think fines make no difference and that uninsured drivers should face a prison sentence (54% agree)

Holiday money

Respondents were split over how they would take their holiday money when travelling outside the UK. 28% would take out all the cash they needed in the local currency before they go, and 28% would pay for things using a credit or debit card. Travellers cheques and pre-paid money cards are not particularly popular.

June 2013 survey

There were 23,450 responses to the June AA-Populus Motoring Panel survey between 11 and 17 June.

Dartford crossing

On average AA members have crossed the Dartford crossing twice in the past year.

Perhaps not surprisingly it is Eastern region drivers, averaging 4 times in the year, and those in the South East and London who use the crossing the most.

Neighbourly disputes

27% of AA members surveyed have had a dispute with a neighbour.

Of those respondents who had been in a dispute with their neighbour, one quarter (23%) had been caused by noise disturbance from people or music, and a further quarter by cars, either blocking access to a property or parked outside (13% and 12%).

Long car journeys

Filling up with fuel (90%), checking the windscreen washer fluid (79%) and checking tyre pressures (79%) are the most common preparations AA members make for a long journey in the summer.

AA members make careful plans for their summer car journeys with only 12% saying that they leave home without considering possible road or traffic conditions.

40% said that they choose to travel early to avoid traffic.

Breaking down

The most stressful moment to break down – for all groups – is on the way to the airport (35%).

Breaking down in a rural or isolated area makes it into the top three most stressful experiences for women but not men (32% vs. 28%) and they also worry more about breaking down at night (33% vs. 18%).

Entertainment on a journey

Despite 30% of AA members surveyed remembering playing car games such as I spy, pub football and car snooker with their parents, only 14% say that they play these games with their own children or young relatives on long car journeys.

Drink driving

Two-thirds of AA members (67%) think that hotels in motorway service areas should be allowed to serve alcohol either for take away or to drink on the premises, but a similar number do not think bars in the service area should serve alcohol at all (68%).

Half of respondents (48%) agree that there are more temptations to drink and drive in the summer than the winter.

If faced with a designated driver who had had one too many, most AA members (68%) will confiscate their keys and call a cab.

Driverless car

Two-thirds of AA members surveyed (65%) enjoy driving far too much to ever want a driverless car, and 56% wouldn't trust manufacturer or government assurances that driverless cars were safe.

12% of respondents can’t wait for the day when they can buy a car that will drive itself, and almost a third (31%) would like UK laws to be changed so that trials can happen on our roads. This could be problematic because over half of AA members (57%) would want driverless cars to be segregated and drive only on dedicated roads or lanes.

May 2013 survey

There were 22,194 responses to the May AA-Populus Motoring Panel survey between 23 and 28 May.

Using your Mobile Phone while Driving

Of those respondents who have a mobile phone and drive for work, 81% say that their employer actively encourages safe and legal use of mobile phones at the wheel.

Nevertheless, 15% admit to feeling under pressure to answer their hands-free work mobile phone while driving and 7% say they feel pressured to pick-up their hand-held work mobile while driving.

96% believe using a mobile phone to send or receive text messages while driving reduces their ability to react to hazards, while 7% think it is a fundamentally safe activity to make or take calls while driving.

Driving Abroad

70% of AA members surveyed have ever driven abroad; 47% in their own car and 52% in a hire car.

Of those who have driven abroad, only two-thirds (66%) are confident driving their own car and 72% are confident driving a hire car.

Almost one-in-five (17%) avoid driving abroad.

Buying a car

62% admit to always doing lots of research before purchasing a car and 63% believe it is safer to buy from a main dealer or trusted brand.

A third (32%) say that buying a car is an enjoyable experience while 38% think it is always risky.

Buying a car that turns out to be mechanically unreliable is, on average, the biggest fear for respondents when buying a used car.

Fuel and motorway usage

The vast majority of respondents, whether their employer pays for all, some or none of their fuel or whether they use motorways regularly or occasionally, do not buy fuel at motorway service areas or only do so in an emergency.

April 2013 survey

There were 21,510 responses to the April AA-Populus motoring panel survey between 15 and 19 April 2013.

Windscreen damage

More than a third (36%) had suffered windscreen damage in the past two years with the most likely damage being a stone chip.  One in ten (11%) had had a stone chip repaired and one in twenty (5%) had had a windscreen renewed as a result of a stone chip.

Car servicing

Nearly one-fifth (19%) of young drivers between 18 and 24 forgo regular car servicing, choosing instead to get faults fixed only when they occur.  This compares with only 4% of motorists over 65.

Overall almost one in ten have stretched service intervals a little (5%) or a lot (4%) to save a bit of cash.  3% have missed a service completely.

Lorry drivers

Overall, panel members seem to recognise and allow for the challenges associated with driving a heavy goods vehicle on Britain's roads with 89% agreeing that lorry drivers are not always able to see all other road users in their vicinity and 65% agreeing that it is the responsibility of other road users to keep out of the way when a lorry is manoeuvring - 86% say they hang back or allow extra room when there's a lorry nearby.

A lane change on a motorway or dual carriageway is the manoeuvre where most panel members have been involved in or seen an incident involving an HGV where the lorry driver could have been to blame (42%) or the car driver/other road user could have been to blame (33%).


As a result of rises in the price of petrol and diesel since 2007, almost one-third (30%) have made the conscious decision to travel less by car.

Over two-thirds (69%) of interviewees claimed that they have made general financial cutbacks, with 49% reducing spending on eating out, and 42% on entertainment.

Motorway annual access charge

Almost two-thirds (64%) indicated that they would be more likely to support an annual charge to use motorways if the Government Guaranteed that every pound raised through the charge would be fully offset by a pound reduction in motoring tax.

60% would be more likely to support an annual access charge if you wouldn't have to pay the charge if you didn't use the motorway network.

Motorway hard shoulder

Almost all interviewees (92%) agreed that having no hard shoulder on a stretch of motorway will make it more difficult to deal with incidents.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) would be more nervous driving on a motorway without a hard shoulder.

First car

Over a third (35%) of those surveyed were aged 17 or 18 when they got their first car, with nearly one in five (19%) describing their first car as 'an old banger with a bit of MOT and tax left on it'.

Nearly half  (44%) kept their first car for 1-2 years, and were most likely(47%) to get rid of it simply because they wanted to upgrade to a better one.

March 2013 survey

There were 21,874 responses to the March 2013 AA-Populus motoring panel survey between 15 and 26 March 2013.

To mark the fifth anniversary of our partnership with Populus the March 2013 survey was bigger than normal to incorporate a comprehensive segmented snapshot of drivers’ attitudes and behaviours towards driving and motoring issues. The results will be published separately in a joint AA/Populus report later in the year.

Easter Holidays

A quarter of AA members surveyed (26%) plan to drive somewhere, for a holiday or an outing, over the East weekend (29 March to 1 April).

5% are going somewhere over the weekend but are not planning on driving.

A third (32%) are not sure whether they will go on a holiday or an outing over Easter weekend but if they do so expect to drive.

Just over a third (36%) do not plan to travel this Easter, rising to 43% among over 64s and 42% among Scottish respondents.

The vast majority of AA members surveyed (94%) do not plan to go abroad over the Easter weekend. 1% plan to go abroad by car and 3% plan to go abroad but not by car.


A quarter of respondents (24%) use motorways for at least a few journeys every week; 5% every day, 5% every workday and 14% for a few journeys every week.

A further 36% use motorways for a few journeys every month, while 37% use them only for a few trips every year.

2% never use motorways.


Only 14% of AA members surveyed have reported a pothole in the past, falling to 9% among 18 to 35s.

61% of respondents have seen bad potholes locally but not reported them.

22% say they would know how to report a pothole if they came across one in a road near to where they live, and 13% say they have seen information from their local authority describing their policy and approach to repairing potholes.

Nevertheless, 46% state they would report potholes if they had more information about how to do so.

February 2013 survey

There were 19,859 responses to the February 2013 AA-Populus Motoring panel survey between 14 and 22 February.

Winter Road Conditions

Thinking about the snow and ice in January, two fifths (40%) said that the road on which they lived was ‘like an ice rink’.

Half of respondents living in Scotland had their road gritted/cleared by their local authority. Whereas, a quarter (24%) of AA members from the South West of England said their local authority cleared their roads.

Only 4% said that the residents of their road worked together to help clear the road from ice and snow.

Quality of Life

Only 2% said that their car was the most important factor determining their current quality of life while just under half (46%) ranked their relationship as the most important factor.

However, half (50%) said that without their car, their life would be boring and 67% agreed they would be devastated if they lost their car.

Road Safety

Half of respondents were concerned about violent crime in their life, whereas 39% were concerned about pollution in the environment, a third (35%) about road traffic accidents and 29% about traffic congestion.

Almost two-thirds (63%) said a total ban on drinking and driving would reduce road traffic accidents and under half (43%) believed reducing the speed limit in residential and shopping areas to 20mph would be most effective.

83% agreed that stronger discipline in the training of drivers and young pedestrians was a sensible measure to ensure road safety while half (51%) were against the instalment of road humps to slow vehicles.

Young Drivers

Two-thirds (68%) were in favour more stringent driving tests.

Less than half (43%) agreed that drivers should be retested after the age of 65.

A third (35%) agreed drugs posed the greatest risk to the safety of teenagers as opposed to drinking (28%) and driving (15%).

Dangerous Driving

Over half (55%) of drivers said that they always checked that their passengers had their seatbelts fastened and 88% stated that they never left their own seatbelt unfastened for short journeys.


8% said that they ride a motorbike, with men being more likely to do so (10% compared to 3% for women).

Out of those who said they ride a motorbike, more than two-thirds (71%) of those that ride said they do so for pleasure, whereas 13% said they regularly use their motorbike for commuting to work.

Purchasing a Car

Of those who had bought a used car in the last 3 years, 65% said that it was a completely trouble free experience and just under half (46%) said they would recommend the dealer to others.

January 2013 survey

There were 22,827 responses to the January 2013 AA-Populus Motoring panel survey between 21 and 25 January.

Speed limit

The vast majority of the AA members interviewed (92%) think that the national speed limit for cars and car derived vans on UK motorways is 70 mph.  Respondents are less confident about the national speed limit on single and dual carriageway roads - only three in five (61%) believe the speed limit on a single carriageway is 60mph.

Most (96%) would assume the speed limit to be 30mph if driving in a ‘built-up’ residential area or on a city centre road with street lamps

Motoring concerns

Half (49%) of motorists say the risk of death or injury on roads is their greatest motoring concern and a third (31%) worry most about the cost of motoring.

Few are concerned by the environmental impact of motoring; only 3% cite this as their greatest concern and 58% say it is the motoring issue they are least concerned about.

Congestion charge

Over half (53%) of the AA members surveyed oppose congestion charging schemes in large conurbations and cities and a third (33%) strongly oppose these schemes.

A quarter (26%) would support a congestion charging scheme in their nearest large conurbation if they were given the chance to take part in a referendum.

Winter tyres & spares

Three-in-five (62%) are aware that winter tyres are specifically designed to perform when temperatures are below 7C.

A quarter (27%) of respondents are not interested in fitting winter tyres while 4% have been using winter tyres for several years.

Over half (54%) of the AA members interviewed have a full-size spare wheel in the boot of their car and 29% carry a skinny or temporary use spare wheel in their car. One-in-ten (9%) have tyre sealant or an inflation kit in the boot of their car.

Paper tax disc

46% of respondents support the abolition of the paper tax disc in principle; half of whom strongly support it (22%).

Average fuel consumption

Half (50%) think the average fuel consumption is about the same as what they expected when they bought their car but 14% say that it is better.

A quarter (25%) think that the average fuel consumption of their car is worse than what they were told when they purchased the car.

Condition of roads

On average, respondents rate the condition of the roads close to where they live as 4.65 on a scale of 0 to 10, (where 0 is terrible and 10 is excellent).

Half (50%) of the respondents think the roads close to where they live are worse, in terms of surfaces and potholes, compared to this time last year.

A third (rising to 44% of motorists in Scotland) have experienced damage to their vehicle caused by a pothole.

One-in-ten (10%) say a pothole caused damage to their wheel, tyre and tracking in the last two years.

Driving license points

The majority of respondents (91%) have no points on their driving license but 8% admit to currently having 3 points.

Encounters in a car

Almost three quarters (70%) of the AA members surveyed have had a romantic encounter in a car. Two-in-five (39%) have gone for a romantic drive and 3% have proposed or been proposed to in a car.

Road safety

Three quarters (72%) of respondents think that making road and junction improvements to remove accident black spots would do the most to make our roads safer.

December 2012 survey

There were 17,883 responses to the December 2012 survey which was open from 14 to 20 December 2012.

This is only a very brief summary of the results from the latest AA-Populus Motoring Panel survey.  Look out for more detailed results in the news.

Car buying

42% of members say they won't be changing their car in the next 12 months.  Of those who will be, half will be looking for a more fuel efficient model.

Car reliability and safety are the most important factors when looking for another car.  Low repair and running costs score highly too.

Speed and style were much less important in buyer’s minds.

Insurance checks with DVLA

Nine out of ten thought it a good idea for insurance companies to check DVLA’s driving licence record when a customer makes an insurance application if it cuts down fraud.

22% object to insurance companies being given driving licence details and two thirds are worried about their data being used for other purposes.

84% thought greater transparency of driving licence records was necessary because some people give false information to insurance companies.


There is a very high level of support for seatbelt wearing with 95% of members thinking that front seat belt legislation has been effective at reducing UK road deaths.

50% very rarely see other drivers not wearing a seat belt.

Retaking the driving test

The survey asked members to highlight aspects of the driving test they would expect to struggle with if they had to re-take their test.  Reverse parking was the most common with one in five members naming this as the hardest.

Half actually think that no aspects of the practical driving test would pose a problem.


More than 80% of members are 'generally happy'.

For a quarter of members, the cost of motoring is most likely to make them unhappy in their day to day life, while another quarter say traffic congestion is the most likely day-to-day problem to make them unhappy.

Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.


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Decade of Action


AA-Populus in the news

The results of our monthly AA-Populus Motoring Panel surveys frequently make the news on television, radio and in the press, both nationally and at a regional/local level.

Every month we publish a high level summary of the latest results so that those who take part can quickly see how their own views compare with the majority.

Selected press releases

Below is a selection of AA press releases from previous years that featured survey results from the AA-Populus Motoring Panel.

Find more recent AA press releases featuring the results of AA-Populus Motoring Panel Surveys in the AA Newsroom.

New uninsured driver fines - increase will make no difference »
(August 2013)

New careless driving penalties - third of drivers at risk of fines »
(August 2013)

30% misled about past problems with a used car they bought »
(August 2013)

Xbox generation most likely to take a shine to driverless cars »
(August 2013)

Summer 'getaway' travel advice -the majority of drivers are inadequately prepared »
(July 2013)

Parking disputes with neighbours -one in three flare-ups between neighbours is car-related »
(July 2013)

Summer drink driving - double trouble with the summertime booze, drivers tell the AA »
(July 2013)

Cutting back on car servicing - a fifth of drivers neglect their cars according to new survey »
(June 2013)

New penalty will deal with AA Members' pet hates »
(June 2013)

Pothole-ravaged roads contribute to 30% jump in windscreen damage »
(May 2013)

Pothole complaints - 18m drivers say they've spotted potholes but failed to report them »
(March 2013)

Easter may turn into a ‘stay at home’ weekend as freezing conditions affect travel plans »
(April 2013)

Improving main roads would make the biggest contribution to reducing road deaths and injuries »
(March 2013)

A third of AA members have rated the overall surface condition of their local roads as poor, very poor or terrible »
(March 2013)

One in 10 strongly or somewhat believe that buying a new car with an ‘unlucky’ 13 next March is best avoided »
(February 2013)

Only 29% of AA members support congestion charging in cities »
(February 2013)

One in ten older drivers think the speed limit for cars on UK motorways is 80mph »
(January 2013)

6% still put themselves at risk by belting up only sometimes or most of the time »
(January 2013)

Half of all drivers would struggle with at least one part of the driving test if they had to re-sit it »
(January 2013)

81% say road condition has got worse in last three years »
(23 February 2011)

Driving songs - AA members choose 'bat out of hell' »
(11 February 2011)

fuel prices - only 7% consider writing to MP »
(31 January 2011)

2/3 resolved to park legally more often in 2011»
(26 January 2011)

Two-thirds expect to get 'ripped off' by garages »
(7 January 2011)

44% have done nothing to prepare for winter weather »
(16 December 2010)

The Greatest Inventions - flushing toilet and the car »
(15 December 2010)

'It's only down the road' - most popular drink driving excuse »
(4 November 2010)

Shock increase in support for speed cameras »
(4 November 2010)

1 in 5 AA members car shares regularly »
(4 October 2010)

A quarter have had shoe problems while driving »
(1 October 2010)

Supervising learner drivers »
(2 August 2010)

Should the government sell off the roads? »
(4 June 2010)

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Contacting the Public Affairs team

If you have comment or question relating directly to AA campaigns and motoring policy then feel free to email the motoring policy team at publicaffairs@theaa.com

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