2009 is proving to be a tough year globally - recession, the threat of unemployment and money worries are all causing unprecedented challenges.
But what does all this mean for the motorist?
Are motorists shunning their cars in favour of public transport? Are they happy with the status quo in terms of investment in the road system? Are they still getting greener? Or have money worries knocked all these concerns into touch while they concentrate on making ends meet?
The 2009 RAC Report on Motoring shows starkly the effect the current economic climate is having on motorists. This UK based report gives the motorist a voice - what they are thinking and feeling about current driving conditions and the laws that surround motoring.
The emerging theme this year is one of increasing disengagement. Motorists do not currently feel connected with the big issues of the day, such as the environment, traffic management and road pricing.
Motorists drive where they have to out of necessity, choose public transport where they can and are not worrying about the bigger picture. There is also a growing belief that their voice is not being heard. This is illustrated by the move away from the desire, evidenced in the 2008 RAC Report on Motoring, to form a partnership with government and manufacturers to improve motoring. This year there has been a shift back towards putting the onus for change firmly on the Government's doorstep.
Concerns over greener motoring are also sidelined, as motorists concentrate on saving money rather than the planet. But there is a welcome side effect to this behaviour - the more economically a motorist drives, albeit to save money, the more environmental their behaviour becomes. Using the bus or train rather than their car reduces CO2 emissions. Buying a more fuel-efficient car also reduces CO2 emissions as well as costs.
The challenge however is to make sure motorists continue with this thrifty and environmental behaviour after the economy has improved.
2.0 Motorists and their cars
Just some of the things UK drivers have been telling us...