Potentially dangerous vehicle faults that can cause road traffic accidents resulting in personal injury claims are going unrepaired as motorists aim to save themselves money, a new survey suggests.
Almost a quarter (23%) of the motorists surveyed by the road safety charity Brake and manufacturer Suzuki said they had noticed unusual noises while driving last winter.
But almost a fifth did nothing about the noises, saying they could not afford the cost of a mechanic or repairs despite the potential risk to road safety.
It is also thought cash-strapped drivers cutting back on repairs may have contributed to a rise in the MOT test failure rate from 33.5% in 2005, to 40.1% in 2009/10.
Brake is warning that continuing to drive with illegal faults – especially during the winter – can end up costing motorists more in the long run as well as putting their own and other road users’ lives in danger by making road traffic accidents likelier.
Help with claims for drivers who do end up involved in a road accident can be obtained from Accident Advice Helpline.
Speedy repairs ‘can prevent crashes’
Government statistics show that thousands of accidents were caused by snow or ice on UK roads last winter, many of which could have been avoided by drivers carrying out regular maintenance, or promptly seeking professional help when potential problems arise.
Brake’s deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, said: “This survey suggests some drivers are feeling the pinch, but sacrificing car maintenance is a false economy and could lead to tragedy.”
She said it is particularly important during the winter for drivers to check their tyres, brakes, lights, wipers and washers are in good condition and to seek help if needed.
She added: “Getting any problems on your vehicle fixed quickly can prevent bigger repair costs, not to mention bad weather break-downs and even potentially catastrophic crashes.”
Common defects ignored by motorists include worn tyres that can make skidding more likely, particularly on icy roads, as well as cracked windscreens and faulty brake lights.
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