One in six (16%*) drivers have hung up their keys completely during the coronavirus outbreak according to a study by the AA Driving School.
The survey of more than 19,500 drivers also found that almost a quarter of drivers over 65 have decided to leave their cars parked up during the period of the outbreak. Across the country, a fifth (22%) of Londoners have stopped driving compared to 13% in Northern Ireland.
Sarah Rees, managing director of the AA Driving School, said: “The fact that one quarter of older drivers have completed stopped driving shows they are taking self-isolation seriously. Almost one half of all drivers are heeding government advice to the letter of the law and only driving once a week for essential shopping supplies.
“In the long term, these drivers may find they feel unconfident about returning to driving after this prolonged break. Drivers who feel nervous about driving more, when restrictions are relaxed, may want to access online resources and, if they are very worried, may want to wait until driving instructors are able to work again and provide refresher lessons.
“In the meantime, the main thing is that people stay safe and follow the lockdown rules.”
Staying behind the wheel
More than seven out of 10 drivers (73%) are staying behind the wheel in some capacity. More than two fifths (44%) are driving just once a week to the shops whereas a quarter (24%) are driving a couple of times a week as they are helping friends and family who are self-isolating. Just one in 20 (5%) are driving as much as before.
The skilled working class such as; nurses, carers, plumbers and electricians are those most likely to be behind the wheel than any other socio-economic group as their services are still necessary during the crisis. It is this reason why the AA has offered free breakdown cover to all NHS staff during the crisis, and are already rescuing around 100 NHS staff a day**.
|Socio-Economic Group||Total % still driving|
|Higher & intermediate managerial, administrative, professional occupations||71%|
|Supervisor or clerical position – junior managerial, administrative or professional position – self employed – student living away from home||74%|
|Skilled manual or service worker||78%|
|Semi skilled or unskilled manual or service worker – dependent on state benefits – unemployed for six months or longer – or state pensioner with no earnings||72%|
Edmund King, AA president, says: “This study shows just how dramatically our travel patterns have changed in the last few weeks. Initially, traffic fell to levels not seen since the mid-fifties, although that has since crept up.
“The big question will be what lasting effects these new patterns will have? It is likely that some drivers may realise that they don’t need their cars every day and that it is relatively easy to walk or cycle instead of drive for those short journeys. Others may question whether the family could get by with one car rather than two? Some may embrace the silence of the streets and decide to swap their nosier combustion engine vehicle for a quieter electric model.
“The broader question will be what percentage of people change their working patterns and decide they have had enough with the stress and cost of commuting. Even if just ten per cent of people decided to work from home on a permanent basis – and obviously not everyone can – this would have a massive effect on reducing congestion on the roads and rail after lockdown. The transport network would permanently be at the lower levels of usage we tend to see during the school holidays. This would bring welcome benefits by reducing congestion and vehicle emissions.”
Drivers who are nervous about aspects of driving after a break can brush up their skills online with tutorials from the AA Driving School on:
Forward bay park https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s8Myu7q66Y
Parallel park : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RehnZ4YRug8
Bay park right : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Qcc5Am2ps
Turn in the road https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NYROGVnDC0&t=11s
*Article Source www.aa.com