Brits chance their luck on the road

Article date: 3 March 2008

  • RAC unveils the nation's breakdown propensity profile

New data from RAC today reveals the profile of motorists most likely to breakdown in Britain*. Those most at-risk drive a blue car, are born under a Libra starsign, and live in Croydon, Greater London.

Know your ‘car sign'
Libran stars like car enthusiast Jodie Kidd and Tory leader David Cameron should look out when they're on the road as they topped the list of unluckiest horoscopes for breakdown frequency. But PM Gordon Brown can breath a sigh of relief - Pisceans are officially the luckiest signs in the zodiac when it comes to breakdowns. In fact, RAC's data reveals that over 40,000 more Librans than Pisceans break down**.

The full starsign league table is (from unluckiest to luckiest):

1. Libra

7.  Aries

2. Capricorn

8.  Scorpio

3. Aquarius

9.  Gemini

4. Virgo

10. Cancer

5. Sagittarius

11. Taurus

6. Leo

12. Pisces

The RAC research just goes to show that Brits' love of horoscopes and superstitions might not be in vain. This is just as well, as UK motorists are more likely to understand the signs of the zodiac than signs of the road - a whopping 42% have read their horoscope in the past year compared to only one-seventh (13%) who have read the highway code***. Coupled with the fact that over two-thirds (67%) admit that they do not read their car manual, it seems UK motorists may be relying on luck to keep them on the road.

Location, location, location
Where we live creates an element of luck too as, when it comes to ill-fated locations, Purley Way in Croydon is pin-pointed as the nation's unluckiest breakdown hotspot. Close contenders include Bristol (Gloucs), Maidenhead (Berks) and Newton Abbot (Devon) - collectively proving that motorists are most likely to have to call for help when in the South.

There is also a North-South divide when it comes to superstitious beliefs.  Four in ten Londoners admit to having a lucky mascot or charm in their car to stay safe, compared to a national average of just one in five (20%).  Two percent of UK motorists even carry a pair of lucky pants with them! 

Southerners could be losers in love though - 38% of people view a car full of mascots as a real turn off when on a first date and say this would put them off meeting up again!

Even if you don't live in one of RAC's breakdown hotspots, the research revealed that it's always worth being extra careful when driving locally, as nearly a third of all breakdowns occur within an eight mile "breakdown radius" from motorists' homes.

Lucky car dealers
And luck doesn't just come into driving; superstition also plays a role in car-buying. Twenty three percent of drivers would be put off choosing a car with their "unlucky colour" or "unlucky number" in the registration. Yet surprisingly, RAC's data shows that cars with traditionally "unlucky" number plates are actually LESS likely to break down:

  • Registrations that include the number "13" are 25% less likely to break down than average
  • Cars with "666" in the number plate are 15% less likely to break down than average.

Crackers Patel, RAC Patrol, says: "Breaking down can be a real worry for motorists, so it's not surprising that many seem to be relying on luck to help them on a journey. However, we would recommend that drivers help make their own good luck by spending more time getting up to speed with their car manual and the latest highway code. Horoscopes and lucky charms provides reassuring emotional support, but it's important people are also making practical preparations to avoid a breakdown, like checking oil and water levels."


RAC Press office contact:
Vicki Burn 01603 684224/ 07800 692909, Jennifer Hardisty on 0207 908 6465/ /Amy Funston on 0207 908 6433

Notes to editors:

* Based on RAC internal data

** RAC internal data shows that Librans are 1.46% more likely to break down than Pisceans. 1.46% of RAC's 86,848 Libran members equates to 1,268 people. The data is based on 1,072,209 RAC members and there are 34,775,587 UK motorists. Therefore there are 41,121 more Libran breakdowns than for Pisceans

*** RAC commissioned to carry out online research between  11 February 2008 and 18 February 2008 amongst 1198 motorists aged 17+ (Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England). is a leading market research organisation, carrying out consumer, corporate and niche market survey online among a 50,000+ member panel

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organizations, 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 J.D. 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%.

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

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