Appendix B: about the research

Research methodology

This Report is based on a large-scale quantitative internet survey and desk research conducted by Quadrangle on behalf of RAC. For the internet survey, Quadrangle interviewed 1,034 British motorists (defined as currently having a valid driving license and driving at least once a month). The survey was completed during August 2008.

The sample was nationally representative on age, gender, socio-economic groups and region. The number of company car drivers was boosted, and as such weighting factors have been applied to restore the overall sample to be nationally representative of households with company cars. The sample was also weighted for market representation of new versus second hand car ownership.

Quadrangle also undertook desk research, using all previous available RAC Reports on Motoring from 1988 - 2008*, and data in the public domain published by the Department for Transport and the Office for National Statistics.

Statistical reliability

Any figure taken from a sample can never be taken as a precise indication of the actual figures for the total population being sampled. The figures shown are an estimate, within a small margin of error, of the actual figures. The error margin varies with the sample size - the larger the sample is, the lower the error will be. It also varies with the proportions answering so the error is lower for a 90/10 result than for a 50/50 result.

In order to illustrate the use of varying sample sizes and their affect on the statistical significance of results, the table below outlines the degree of statistical error broadly associated with different sample sizes from the car drivers' survey. For example, from a sample of 1,000, if 50% answered in a particular way, we would be 95% confident that the true range is between 47% and 53%.

Year      Percentage   Percentage  
2,000 +/-2 +/-3
1,000 +/-2 +/-3
800 +/-2 +/-3
600 +/-2 +/-4
400 +/-3 +/-5
200 +/-4 +/-7
100 +/-5 +/-10


Acceleration Skid Control (ASR) uses sensors to detect when the car is losing traction when accelerating and restricts the accelerator.

Adaptive cruise control uses radar technology to slow the car by applying the brakes to ensure a safe distance is maintained between cars. Once the car in front has moved out of the way, the car will return to its set cruise speed.

Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) allows suspension settings for the car to be adjusted by the driver or automatically.

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) uses sensors to detect when wheels have locked under braking, automatically releasing the brakes to stop the lock and reapplying to maintain braking effect, enabling the driver to maintain control of the car.

Bluetooth provides a way to exchange information between devices such as mobile phones, laptops, printers, digital cameras and video game consoles over a short-range radio frequency bandwidth.

Brake assist occurs when the brakes detect an emergency stop, computers control the brakes to effect the perfect stop.

Collision mitigation braking systems are in-built radar systems that detect a possible collision and apply the brakes if required.

Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) uses brake technology to automatically apply more or less braking pressure to individual wheels based on road conditions and speed etc, whilst maintaining vehicular control.

Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) uses sensors to detect when wheels are not turning at the same speed e.g. when a car is skidding and controls the accelerator and/or applies the brakes either individually or together to bring the car under control.

Head up displays project vital information e.g. speed into a special display on the windscreen.

Lane departure warning occurs when the car detects that it is drifting out of lane and sounds a warning signal.

Light Emitting Diode (LED) LEDs are often used as 'pilot' lights in electronic appliances to indicate whether the circuit is closed or not. LEDs are widely used on electronic devices such as car indicators.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is the technology used for displays which can be seen on car dashboards and other smaller computer technologies.

Night vision infrared is specially adapted lights and camera that enables the driver via an in-car TV to see much further into the distance than normal car lights at night.

Sign recognition system reads speed restriction signs and displays the current speed limit in the car.

Thatcham Category 1 Immoboliser is a security system with electronic alarm and immoboliser combined.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a port that allows the 'hot-plugging' of multiple external plug-and-play devices. A USB connection port can be found on computer technology that is universally compatible with many types of devices such as iPods, MP3s and printers.

* Until 1999, the reports were called 'The Lex Report on Motoring' and from 2000 'RAC Report on Motoring'.

Appendix A: about this report