Turning point as more cars take to the road and garages start to re-open
The number of road breakdowns have shot up by 40 per cent, AA president Edmund King has said.
The AA described Monday as a “turning point” for motorists taking to the roads as the Prime Minister began to ease lockdown restrictions on Sunday.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Edmund King said: “Even though people are still seeking more clarity on lockdown rules it does seem that the roads have opened up from this morning.
“The AA has already seen about 40 per cent more breakdowns this morning although there is always an increase after a bank holiday weekend.
“The combination of Dominic Raab saying you can drive as far as you want to go and walk in a park, petrol dropping under £1 per litre in some garages, removing the ‘Stay Home’ slogan, and the Prime Minister advising people to avoid public transport, will mean a turning point in terms of more drivers taking to the roads.”
On Sunday the Prime Minister confirmed in his TV address that motorists could drive to areas of outdoor exercise from Wednesday and urged workers returning to work to consider using their cars, cycling or walking instead of using public transport to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab later confirmed that road uses could go as “far as you want to drive” as long as social distancing measures were being maintained.
Mr Raab said: “You can drive as far as you want to drive to go and walk in a park or a particular area that you’re fond of as long as you maintain the social distancing.But obviously, if you’re going from one part of the UK to another, so if you’re going from England to Wales or from Scotland to Wales different rules are in place.
“[This is] because the devolved administrations take a different approach you need to be very mindful of the regulations that they’ve got in place.”
New data from AA Smart breakdown has revealed motorists may have been breaking the rules and using their vehicles before any easing of lockdown.
Analysis revealed the number of journeys made per day on average has steadily increased from 21st April.
Data shows the number of journeys made per day on average had increased from around 0.40 to 0.50 with a small boost recorded on 7 May.
Late last week, AA chief executive Simon Breakwell revealed the number of breakdowns had increased back to around 90 per cent of normal activity,
He confirmed roadside assistance had fallen to just 40 per cent of normal level in the week after the lockdown was introduced.
Mr Breakwell admitted: “It’s true, far more cars are getting back on the road.”
It comes as the latest GiPA UK data on garage workshop activity during the lockdown suggests more are now starting to reopen.
A GiPA UK spokesperson said: “In terms of workshops activity, the cumulative annual workshop turnover that was expected during the last five weeks but not generated due to lockdown measure reaches 5.8 per cent.
“This does not mean that 5.8 per cent of the annual turnover is lost for good.
“While a share can be recovered in 2020, there is also a share that will not be.
“The volume of business that can be recovered depends on how the industry will be able to operate in the coming weeks and how, and when, drivers will start re-using their cars.”