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Coronavirus: Drivers heed ‘stay at home’ message

Row of parked cars

Almost two-thirds (60%) of drivers are now using their cars once a week or less, new research from the RAC suggests.

It also showed that the vast majority of drivers (97%) heeded the Government’s ‘stay at home’ instruction over the warm Easter weekend – 2% of drivers reported they had used a car to drive to an open space for exercise, while 1% chose to see friends or family.

Breakdowns attended by RAC patrols were also down sharply over Easter compared to last year – across the UK there were 50% fewer breakdowns between Good Friday and Easter Monday. However, there was an unexpected spike in breakdowns on Tuesday.

Separate analysis by the AA shows car journeys declined most on Easter Sunday, falling 80%

Its review of more than 15,000 daily cars journeys has established a pattern of travel during the lockdown that sees weekday journeys at around 60% lower, falling another 10% on Saturdays and then heading towards the 80% down on Sundays.

The RAC’s Rod Dennis said: “The Government has indicated that food shopping should be done as infrequently as possible, and consequently many people are using their cars to carry heavy bags of groceries.”

Three-quarters (75%) of drivers said they use the car for food shopping, 28% say they use it to get to pharmacies, and a fifth (18%) said they need the car to provide care or help to a vulnerable person. A fifth (20%) also say they use the car to get to work as they are in a role where they can’t work from home.

Furthermore, a third of drivers said having access to a car is more important than ever following the coronavirus outbreak, while one-in-10 have stopped driving completely since the Government began an enforced lockdown.


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