A young man with a silver car that broke down on the road. He has set up a warning triangle. He is waiting for the technician to arrive.

Keep calm and…carry on? A quarter of drivers wouldn’t risk stopping to help another driver in trouble

Latest data from Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) UK has found that, while women are more likely than men to stop to help stranded motorists (44%), only 10% of lone female drivers would stop to offer assistance.

The research figures also show stark demographic differences. Only 15% of those aged over 50 said they’d stop to help, compared to 30% of those aged between 18-34. Nearly a third of drivers north of the border said they’d stop to offer assistance, while just 15% of those in the Midlands would do the same, with Wales and the South West following closely behind on just 16%.

Despite the survey results showing the ‘Good Samaritan’ approach of many drivers, official National Highways advice is to avoid stopping for other vehicles that have broken down. Instead, drivers should call National Highways on 0300 123 5000 to report an issue they have seen, or dial 999 if it’s an emergency.

Emma Loveday, Senior Consultant at VWFS UK, comments: “We’d all like to think we would lend a hand to anyone that needs it, but when it comes to breakdowns on busy roads, it’s likely to be safer to call for professional help than to stop and try to assist yourself.

“Stopping on a busy road is hazardous enough for breakdown assistance and motorway patrol vehicles that have enhanced safety features and reflective markings, so they can clearly be seen and flashing lights. For everyday vehicles, pulling over to help can actually introduce more risk and danger to a perhaps already hazardous situation.

“Instead, make sure you know what numbers to call to advise appropriate authorities of a driver in need of help. Make sure also that you are as prepared as possible in the event of a breakdown. That means having emergency supplies to hand, a charged phone, etc. and knowing who to call and what to do to safely handle a breakdown and get help when it happens.”

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