What’s on motorists’ minds?

Drivers' most pressing concerns

The Report on Motoring asks drivers to name the four motoring-related issues that concern them most, from a list of 20.

This data is used to create a percentage that shows the level of overall concern among drivers about each issue. Below is a chart with them all to show how concern of these issues has changed compared to last year. The orange figures indicates the total level of concern among drivers this year, the grey figure the corresponding level last year.

The enormous increase in the price of petrol and diesel to new record levels in 2022 is by a considerable margin the top concern among Britain’s drivers. This year, 55% of drivers say that the cost of fuel is one of their most pressing motoring-related concerns – well over double the 25% rate recorded in 2021 and the highest level since 2013. That year, the price of unleaded petrol averaged almost 135p per litre with diesel over 140p.

It should also be noted that forecourt prices continued to increase dramatically in the weeks following the end of the Report on Motoring fieldwork in mid-May this year, so it is entirely feasible that this issue has become an even more widespread problem since then.

Fuel costs are an even greater issue for younger drivers: among those aged between 17 and 44, 62% say this is a top concern. 

The state of local roads is the second biggest concern in 2022, with 45% of drivers naming this as a top issue this year – almost unchanged on the 46% recorded in 2021. The rate rises to 55% among drivers aged 65 and older, making it this group’s top concern this year. In contrast, only 27% of under-25s say the condition of the local roads in their area is a main concern. Concern about the state of the UK’s motorways and dual carriageways (the strategic road network), meanwhile, has fallen to 8% this year, its lowest level since 2017.

The dangerous, careless or illegal behaviour of other road users remains a widespread source of anxiety. One in three drivers (30%) say that the poor standard of other motorists’ driving is a top concern – up from 27% a year ago – while 26% cite people using hand-held mobile phones while driving as a concern.

There has been an increase in the number of drivers who say they are concerned about the risky or reckless behaviour of cyclists on the road, from 19% in 2021 to 22% this year. And 21% say the aggressive behaviour of other drivers is a top concern. There has been a sharp decline in concern about drink-driving, however: this year this is a worry for just 14% of drivers compared to 28% as recently as 2019.

When it comes to other motoring topics, concern levels are generally lower than 12 months ago (although this does differ by age group). However, this is at least partly due to the huge rise in concern about fuel prices. Given that drivers surveyed for the Report are asked to select their four main concerns, the emergence of such a major issue will inevitably shift the focus away from other problems that are perceived as relatively less important. The proportion of drivers expressing major concern about the environmental impact of motoring this year has dropped from 16% down to 12%, while only 8% of drivers say the impact on health of harmful vehicle emissions is a top concern, down from 11% a year ago. We examine sentiment around electric vehicles and possible emission-related tax changes in Going electric: Mapping the route to 2030.

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