Young female motorists most at risk of being stranded this winter

Article date: 10 November 2008

RAC figures released today* show that almost a third (31%) of motorists are preparing for the winter with no roadside breakdown cover. Worryingly, young women aged 18-24 are the group least likely to be covered with four in 10 (40%) risking being stranded at the roadside.

The study reveals that confusion over pricing and increasing financial pressures are causing many motorists to abandon cover and chance spending hours stranded, an experience which is already widespread among British motorists. Over a third (35%) of all drivers have experienced breaking down without cover - and over one in 10 (12%) of these has taken over four hours to reach their destination as a result.

The research also found that the most common rescuers are the motorist's own family, used as a first port of call by almost half (48%) of stricken motorists. Young people are especially likely to rely on help from others, with 35% of 18-35 year olds gambling on driving without cover, compared with only 21% of over 55s.

Motorists wildly overestimate the cost of breakdown cover. Nearly three quarters (76%) of motorists surveyed were unaware that roadside assistance is available for under £40 a year** - and over one in 10 (11%) think it costs over £100. This inaccuracy is compounded by the economic situation, with over a third (35%) of motorists without cover citing financial pressures as their primary reason for not having it.

Iain Vale, RAC patrol of the year, said: "Times are tight but forsaking breakdown cover could lead to a costly and worrying situation.

"I'm especially concerned that young people are unnecessarily putting themselves at risk. My experience as a patrol means I've come across vulnerable young people at the roadside in the dark and relying on family and friends to rescue you isn't the best option.

"The average one-off cost if you breakdown away from home and need a tow of only 10 miles to the nearest garage could be as much as £100.*** RAC roadside assistance cover for the whole year is just £33 online."

The findings are released as RAC promote discounts of up to 28% online to new members this winter. Visit www.rac.co.uk/ or call 0800 096 0731 for more details.****

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RAC Press office contact:
Lucy Haughey or Vicki Burn on 01603 684224/07800 692909, Louis Blake on 0207 908 6523, Amy Funston on 0207 908 6433.

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RAC Membership costs and cover chart available.

Notes to editors:

* Research commissioned by RAC by Redshift Research. The survey questioned 1024 motorists over the age of 18. Research took place between 17/10/08 and 20/10/08

** RAC Roadside Assistance is available at www.rac.co.uk/ for £33 (based on payment on a rolling annual basis). This covers fixing the car at the roadside, as long as the member is over 1/4 mile away from home. If in the unlikely event that it can't be fixed, RAC will tow the member to an approved garage within 10 miles.

*** This is based on the cost for a one off callout, for the first 25 miles, for customers that do not want to join RAC.

**** The full 28% discount applies to Roadside Assistance, single cover only. A 25% discount applies to all other single cover products. Joint cover discount is up to 21% and Family cover discount is up to 16%. Discount is available online and applies to personal based cover for the first membership year only. Offer may be withdrawn at anytime. Full terms and conditions apply.

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists.  Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer service by JD Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the past two years.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005.  The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15 per cent.  

RAC is part of Aviva, the world's fifth largest insurance group which operates in 27 countries.  

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk/.

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