RAC data confirms car use is rising despite the lockdown.
Figures show a steady increase in breakdowns and average miles driven per day while more than a third of drivers say they are using their vehicles more for food shopping as well as trips to DIY stores
Ahead of this weekend’s announcement on how the UK might begin to ease the current lockdown restrictions, an RAC study confirms drivers are already using their cars more than they were earlier in the coronavirus lockdown.
The study analysed RAC ‘black box’ driving data, breakdown numbers and route planning figures since the lockdown began. Comparing the second week of lockdown with last week*, 11% more cars were on the road and 23% more daily miles were driven, based on analysis of hundreds of thousands of trips taken by RAC Black Box Insurance customers with telematics units fitted. Vehicle breakdowns are also up, with those attended by RAC patrols up by nearly a fifth (18%) across the same period.
The number of routes planned via the RAC Routeplanner is also increasing, suggesting a rise in trips being taken by drivers. More routes were planned on Monday 5 May 2020 than on any other day during the lockdown, with 16% more planned on this day than just a week earlier.
Comparing lockdown week two with lockdown week six there were:
The data is supported by the findings of a new survey by the RAC which suggests that four-in-10 drivers (41%) admit they are now using their vehicles more frequently than earlier in the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
The survey of 1,500 drivers found that the top reason for using a car more was for food and grocery shopping (almost a quarter, 23% of drivers), while 9% said that they were doing so to pick up essential supplies or for trips to a pharmacy.
But worryingly, a small but appreciable 5% said they were using their vehicle more now to specifically purchase alcohol, while the same proportion (5%) said they were going out in the car specifically to visit DIY stores as Britons look to make home improvements while spending more time at home.
A slightly smaller proportion of drivers (4%) said they were using their car more to drive somewhere to do exercise, and the same percentage said they were using their vehicle more for work purposes.
According to Confused.com research, nearly three in four Brits (72%) are tackling DIY jobs during lockdown, including plastering, laying flooring and fitting kitchens. On average shoppers are spending just under £200 on home improvements, while almost one in ten (9%) plan on spending up to £500 on home improvements.