Bank holiday breakdowns leave Brits stranded

Article date: 30 April 2004

Unprepared motorists could see themselves strandedon busy Bank Holiday roads this weekend because they don’tcarry the right equipment in the car, new research revealstoday.

And if they do break down, topping the poll of the personthey’d most like to be stuck in the car with is motor mouthJeremy Clarkson.

Car enthusiast Clarkson beat Aussie pop princess Kylie Minogueand Formula One ace Michael Schumacher to take the crown of mostdesired companion on the roads.

Motorists told researchers for Norwich Union Rescue thatthey’re more likely to have something in their car that theycould go to the toilet in rather than carrying a spare tyre, carjack or even spare petrol.

Yet motorists would rather speak in public, attend a jobinterview or visit the dentist than spend time stranded on theroadside requiring assistance.

Norwich Union’s ‘Rescue Report’, which spoketo more than 600 adult drivers, shows that more than half haverequired roadside assistance. Yet despite these numbers of peoplewho have experienced a breakdown, many are still unprepared anddon’t carry the right equipment in their car.

Shirley Gabriel, of Norwich Union Rescue, said: "Britishmotorists are ill-equipped to deal with a breakdown and yet when ithappens, it’s a very frustrating and frighteningexperience.

"But what’s reassuring is that despite not always havingthe right equipment in their cars to assist in a breakdown,two-thirds of people do put up a hazard triangle on the road towarn other motorists and more than half say they would get out ofthe car when broken down on a motorway."

To help motorists this Bank Holiday weekend, Norwich UnionRescue has produced its top tips to help in a breakdown:

  • move your vehicle off the road – you should try andensure your vehicle is not obstructing or endangering other roadusers
  • warn other road users – if possible, put your hazardlights on and if carried place a warning triangle at least 45metres behind your vehicle on the same side of the road
  • get out of your vehicle – use the door nearest to thecurb
  • phone for assistance – if you don’t have a mobilephone to call for help, use the emergency phones found on somemajor roads
  • for added personal safety on a motorway, remember to ensureall passengers are kept away from the carriageway and stand on thefar side of the hard shoulder barrier.

Norwich Union Rescue, the insurer’s breakdown assistanceservice, is available for private car and van drivers whether theytake out Norwich Union motor insurance or not.

As well as offering some creature comforts to motorists like hotor cold drinks while you wait for your vehicle to be mended,Norwich Union Rescue offers risk-based pricing so the customer paysa price for their breakdown cover which is tailored to their owncircumstances. Prices start from £27.

Shirley Gabriel added: "Norwich Union Rescue will offer numerousbenefits to make the stranded driver feel safe and cared for. Theseinclude the skills of highly trained patrolmen, the chance to talkto a phone operator until help arrives and a drink and biscuitswhile repairs are being carried out."

For more information about Norwich Union Rescue, call NorwichUnion Direct on 08000 156156 or visit


Media contacts:
Charlotte Ruddlesdin orMatt Buchanan at QBO Bell Pottinger on 020 7861 2424
Jenny Chapman at Norwich Union on 01603 682 264 or 07775 822642

Notes to editors:

Top 10 celebrities we’d like to be broken down in the carwith:
1. Jeremy Clarkson
2. Kylie Minogue
3. Michael Schumacher
4. David Beckham
5. Ricky Gervais
6. Jenson Button
7. Jennifer Lopez
8. Thierry Henry
9. Justin Timberlake
10. Kate Moss

Regional statistics available.

Norwich Union commissioned research with TNS amongst arepresentative sample of 650 British adults who are car drivers.Interviewing was conducted from 09th – 11th April 2004.

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market shareof around 14 per cent. With a focus on insurance for individualsand small businesses, Norwich Union insures:
    - one in five households
    - one in seven motor vehicles
    - more than 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of imagesare available on the Aviva internet press centre
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality broadcast -call the press office on 01603 683820

Back to top