Covid and the car report – After 12 months in the slow lane is the UK finally getting back in the driving seat?

Co-op Insurance takes a look at post-pandemic motoring


Here in Great Britain – an island with a road network of over 217,000 miles – our motor vehicles play an intrinsic role in the way we live our lives.


Little over 12 months ago, we couldn’t have imagined a world where many of us wouldn’t be commuting to work, heading out on a weekend road trip to visit our favourite beauty spot or hitting the motorway to see family and friends dotted around the country.


Now, as our lives begin to return to a ‘new’ level of normality, as part of our Covid and the Car report we’ve asked the Great British public to tell us if the events of the past year have caused them to re-evaluate their relationship with their car. The results have certainly made for some interesting reading:


  • One in three motorists are anxious and scared about rising traffic levels due to threats from aggressive drivers and also their own ‘rusty’ driving skills
  • Drivers aged 16 to 24 years are the most anxious age group to emerge from the pandemic with 64% saying they’re scared about driving on busier roads
  • 46% of women admit to being anxious about increased traffic levels, compared to 25% of men, with one in ten females concerned about driving with a new baby in the car
  • One in four car owners have not carried out basic car maintenance over last six months
  • 37% of Brits say they plan to use less public transport than before pandemic commenting that they feel safer in their car
  • But it also looks like two-car households across the country are set to decline – 9% of respondents have already stopped using a second car, 20% say they’re considering it to save money and 11% want to do so to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Almost a third of those polled said they are planning to buy a new vehicle in the next 12 months, with one in three set to splash out on a hybrid vehicle (31%) and one in four on an electric car (27%). Only 15% planned on buying a fossil fuel vehicle, showing that petrol and diesel are falling out of favour with today’s more eco-conscious drivers.
  • On average, men are prepared to splash out a staggering £27,403 on brand new wheels, whilst women will spend £20,326.
  • It’s not all doom and gloom for motorists! Over a fifth (21%) saying they’re excited to get back behind the wheel.


Charles Offord, Managing Director, Co-op Insurance, said: “It’s concerning to hear that many of the nation’s drivers feel anxious about busier roads and aggression from other drivers.  We’re urging people to reacquaint themselves with their car before embarking on longer journeys and to check that it has had all relevant checks and services. Knowing your car is safe and roadworthy should offer drivers peace of mind and help to boost their confidence. And it goes without saying that all motorists should show consideration to other drivers at all times.”


Racing driver and car fanatic, Jodie Kidd, added: “For me there’s nothing like the thrill of the open road and setting off on a road trip is just as exciting as arriving at the destination! It’s great to hear that many British motorists share in my excitement but also understandable that the last year may have changed the way many of us feel about driving, particularly those who have been learning to drive on quieter roads or those who have welcomed a baby and might not have ventured too far. My advice to anyone who is feeling apprehensive is to build up your confidence with regular trips on familiar roads before heading out onto the motorway.”


Last September, Co-op Insurance launched the ‘T’ plate to help young or newly qualified drivers with telematics to feel safer on the road. Like an ‘L’ plate, the ‘T’ plate is displayed on the car to indicate to other road users that the vehicle is fitted with a black box and the driver is being monitored.


It also launched a pay-by-mile trial with By Miles to offer customers whose driving habits have changed, greater flexibility. Rather than paying an annual premium, drivers pay a fixed amount each year to cover their non-driving risks, such as theft and vandalism, then pay for the rest of their cover monthly, based on how many miles they drive.


And for those who are working at home and haven’t been behind the wheel as much, the insurer, alongside Co-op Car Care with Fixter offers a convenient MOT and car servicing option for car owners. Vehicles are picked up at home and returned at a place and time to suit.