4.5 million drivers have suffered car trouble on holiday, but many still not making vital checks before setting off on journeys of thousands of miles.
With many families heading off on holiday next week for half term, new research released today reveals that a total of 18.4 million Brits will be taking their cars on holiday this year. The study for Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, found that 16.5 million drivers will use their car for a UK holiday, while 3.6 million will take their car across the Channel for a holiday abroad.
Long distances – but few checks
Those travelling on holiday in the UK this year expect to cover a total of 1,184 miles on average, while those taking their car overseas say they will clock up 1,671 miles on their trips. While all will hope these miles will be stress-free there could be problems on the road ahead for many drivers.
Nearly four and a half million motorists (4,475,000) have suffered car trouble while on holiday in the last five years, accounting for more than one in eight drivers. However, the Kwik Fit research reveals that in spite of this experience, many drivers are still neglecting to make some of the most basic checks before they set off on their journeys.
Car trouble leads to relationship problems
Car troubles can lead to more than financial or roadside problems, they can have a serious impact on people’s relationships. 920,000 drivers say a breakdown led to an argument with someone in their car and then not speaking to one another for an hour, while for 472,000 the silence lasted more than a day. Even more extreme, however, was the impact on the 687,000 drivers who say a car breakdown caused an argument with their partner which led to them splitting up.
It would appear that some drivers are not heeding the lessons of experience. Only 52% of those drivers who have experienced car trouble on a previous holiday check their tyre pressures before they set off, with the same proportion checking their screenwash levels. Less than half (47%) check their oil and 44% check their lights are working. Despite the likelihood of sitting in holiday traffic with the engine heating up, only 39% check their coolant levels.
Kwik Fit found that many of those drivers travelling abroad are doing so without making some vital checks, and could find themselves in breach of continental laws. Only 44% of drivers heading overseas in their car check their insurance details. As the vast majority of insurance policies do not include European cover as standard, these drivers could find themselves without cover.
In addition, less than a third (31%) of drivers heading to the continent check that they have a warning triangle in their car. If they drive without one they risk an on the spot fine from many foreign police forces as it is compulsory to carry one in the car in case of breakdowns.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “The findings of this study are quite worrying – despite many drivers having experienced car trouble on holiday, the number making some of the simplest checks before they set off is far too low. We would encourage all drivers setting off on a journey of any distance, and particularly one that will last thousands of miles on foreign roads to run through a checklist before they depart. As the study has shown, a breakdown can be emotionally damaging as well as giving drivers financial problems.”