More people drive despite locking restrictions, RAC says

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A man putting his children in car seats

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More and more people are using their cars despite the coronavirus locking, estimates the RAC.

His analysis suggests that there are 11% more vehicles on the road this week than during the second week of locking.

At the same time, the number of emergency calls increased by 18% over the same period.

“There is now more and more evidence that people are venturing into their vehicles,” said RAC traffic policy chief Nicholas Lyes.

But why are more people driving despite the restrictions?

“It may be due to the fatigue and boredom of locking, while sunny spring weather could also encourage drivers to get back into their vehicles,” said Lyes.

“Also, some of the people inside may have chosen to do housekeeping and DIY, so they took the opportunity to visit DIY stores that are now open. “

The report follows comments from AA boss Simon Breakwell, who told the FT, “Many more cars are hitting the road. “

He said about half of current AA calls have been made to people unable to start their cars in the driveway, often with dead batteries after weeks of vehicles at rest.

Analyze the data

The RAC has analyzed “black box” driving data, trouble numbers and route planning numbers since the lock began providing its numbers.

Comparing the second week of lockdowns with last week, 11% more cars were on the road and 23% more daily kilometers were driven.

Vehicle breakdowns assisted by RAC patrols increased by almost a fifth over the same period.

The number of routes planned via the RAC Routeplanner is also increasing, suggesting an increase in journeys made by drivers.

More routes were scheduled on Monday, May 5, 2020 than any other day during the lockout, with 16% more scheduled on that day than a week earlier.

“Our data clearly shows a slight, but nonetheless constant, increase in the number of drivers using their vehicle and the distances they travel daily, compared to the start of the lockout,” said Mr. Lyes.

Essential trips

New RAC research suggests that two in five drivers are now using their vehicles more frequently than before when the coronavirus shutdown was underway.

The main reason cited for using more of a car was food and groceries, with almost a quarter of the drivers who named it.

About one in ten said they drove more to get essentials or to go to a pharmacy.

But worrisome, one in 20 said they are no longer using their vehicle now to specifically buy alcohol, or getting out of the car specifically to visit DIY stores.

“The current advice is to only go out when it is necessary for essential purposes, or when you cannot work at home,” said Mr. Lyes. “The question drivers should ask themselves before venturing out is:” Do I really need it? “

“By using the car only for essential journeys today, we not only help prevent the spread of the virus, but we also reduce the risk of being involved in a road accident and avoiding put more pressure on the NHS. “

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