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• Two thirds of British drivers fear being unable to call for help if they breakdown
• A third of drivers worry about breaking down when they drive

Research released today by M&S Money has revealed that, of all the things British drivers fear about breaking down, being left unable to contact anyone to ask for help is the worst.

The survey carried out for M&S car insurance – which includes breakdown cover as standard – highlights the nation’s biggest anxieties about their car giving up on them. Nearly three out of five (57%) agreed that being unable to make a phone call is their greatest worry. Those surveyed placed this above breaking down alone in the car (4%), in a deserted spot (13%) or without knowing where you are (12%).

The research goes on to show that a third of drivers often worry about breaking down when they drive (32%) and 2% worry about it every time they get in the car. Almost 40% of women drivers nominated quiet country roads as the worst location to break down. Yet men felt more concerned about breaking down on a roundabout (30%) – showing they are more concerned about inconvenience than isolation.

The worst time of day

The majority of drivers agreed that the worst time to breakdown is late at night (52%) but more than a third of drivers (36%) couldn’t bear the thought of getting stuck in the rush hour. Men are more worried about this than women (43% compared to 28%). Eight per cent of men agree that there’s nothing worse than breaking down when you’re meant to be enjoying yourself – on holiday!

Are drivers covered?

So with all these fears, are British drivers equipped for a breakdown, should it happen? In fact more than half of drivers have had to take out separate cover (54%) to protect them, a worrying 14% admit they aren’t covered and 5% don’t know either way – leaving them exposed and vulnerable.

Steve Price, M&S Insurance Manager, is intrigued by the findings. “These results show how, even in the most vulnerable situations, people need to feel in control. It may seem obvious, but doing a quick check for your phone before you get in the car will ensure you have the means to make a call. If the worst does happen, and you break down, then M&S car insurance can get you back on the road. The breakdown cover provided as standard also gives priority to women who are alone when their cars breakdown.”

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For further information, pictures or an interview, please contact Louisa Herbert, Maria Smith or Helen Pattison at Publicasity on 020 7632 2400 or

Notes to editors:

• Research carried out on behalf of M&S Money by YouGov 17th – 19th April 2007 among 1,685 British drivers aged 18 or over who admit to regularly driving on public roads

• The research coincides with M&S Car Insurance’s new TV advertising campaign fronted by accomplished driver and model Jodie Kidd. The campaign launched on 2nd May 2007

• M&S Car Insurance

• Inclusive breakdown cover in the UK and Europe

• Inclusive hire car for up to 14 days after accident, fire or theft

• Plus a courtesy car after that if your own is still off the road, subject to cover and availability

• Inclusive Keycare for all new customers

• Repairs guaranteed for three years

• Easy application with no forms to fill

• Helpful telephone claims service

• Green card for up to 90 days travel per trip

• Discount available for buying online

• Instant quotes by freephone or online

• Instant cover

• Debit card, credit card or direct debit payment

• Comprehensive, third party fire and theft or third party only cover


• The motorway hard shoulder posed less of a concern for most drivers, with only a quarter rating it the worst place to break down (24%)

• Only one in ten drivers (11%) hated the idea of breaking down in the middle of their local high street or town centre

• Drivers are most likely to call their husband, wife or partner when they breakdown (69%)

• Older drivers in their 50s are more likely to call their children (12%)

• Young drivers will get on the phone to their mum and dad to sort them out (56%)

• Drivers between 18 and 24 years old are more worried about breaking down in the rush hour than any other time (43%)

• More than half of drivers over 55 believe their car is very reliable and don’t worry about breaking down at all (51%)

• Compared to other UK drivers, Scottish drivers are least likely to have some kind of breakdown cover

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