Liar liar your car's not on fire!

Article date: 20 May 2011

  • Survey reveals British drivers blame their cars for their lateness but it’s only true half the time

A survey of British drivers conducted by RAC1 has revealed that when late for work or social gatherings, we blame transport delays (45%) and car problems (42%), yet the survey shows that the majority of the time (61%) it’s untrue.

The survey has found that two thirds of drivers (66%) have fibbed about why they are late to colleagues and friends, with over one third (37%) showing up late every single week for meetings or social occasions.

It has also revealed what drivers define as being tardy, with anything over 12 minutes defined as "late". However, in reference to lateness, half of the survey respondents (50%) claimed that they "prefer to be an hour early than a minute late".

Drivers in East Anglia were found to have told the most "porkies", 60% of the time, yet one in 10 drivers admit to have "lost count" of the number of times they’ve fibbed about the reasons they’re late, blaming pets, boilers and burst pipes as the reasons they couldn’t get somewhere on time.

RAC has also revealed that the top personal events that British drivers admitted being late for were:

  1. A date
  2. A holiday/flight
  3. Picking the kids up from school
  4. A partner’s birthday
  5. A child’s birthday

As the driving people RAC understands that every time you get in a car its because you need to be somewhere that is important to you. To find out more about the journeys the nation is taking RAC has launched – a place for sharing journeys – the meaning, the route, the pictures and the memories.

Nick Giles, head of marketing for RAC, comments: “At RAC we fully understand there are factors outside of people’s control that can wreak havoc to their journeys. It’s a key part of our job to ensure that if people do breakdown that we get them moving as quickly as possible to ensure they get where they need to be. We always advise people to leave as early as they feasibily can on journeys. If you are on a long journey to plan your route in advance as you never know what may happen along the way.”


RAC Press Office contact:
Vicki Burn on 01603 684224 / 07800 692909

Nicole Rose or Emily Dean at Frank PR on 0207 693 6999 

Notes to editors:


The new site – – will provide a substantial insight into the nation’s journey by allowing people to upload their routes, adding in additional details such as stops that were made along the way and what the purpose of the trip is (e.g. a lazy Sunday drive, family trip to Scotland etc). They will be able to chart the people they meet along the way and even incorporate photos from their journey.

Once people have shared their journeys they will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win £1,500 towards their fuel costs**. They will also be able to post their journey to their Facebook wall*** and share it on Twitter by using the #myjourney hashtag. The uploaded journeys will then be collated and analysed for the next stage of the project which will be announced later in the year.

** The Winner will receive a cheque for the amount of £1,500 (one thousand and five hundred pounds) to put towards fuel costs or spend as they wish.** Terms and Conditions apply (please see for full details).

*** Via Facebook Connect

1 The survey was conducted on behalf of RAC by between 27-28 April 2011 and received a total of 1,001 respondents from across the UK.

About RAC
With around seven million customers, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. 

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its customers and has been ranked first for customer satisfaction by J D Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the last four years. RAC was also the top-named breakdown organisation in the July 2009, January 2010 and July 2010 half-yearly UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service. 

RAC awarded a Which? Best Buy for Breakdown Cover – August 2010 

RAC Insurance has also been awarded the Best Overall Vehicle Insurance Provider 2010/11 by 

RAC is part of Aviva, the world's sixth largest* insurance group, serving 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. 

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at 

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*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009

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