Tag Archives: ray massey

“No-one else will pay for your pothole-damaged cars!” says breakdown service

BRITAIN’S CRUMBLING ROADS: Drivers claim for pothole damage ‘every 17 MINUTES’

BRITAIN’S roads are crumbling so badly that drivers make a claim for pothole damage every 17 minutes, the RAC Foundation revealed yesterday.

In the last financial year drivers made at least 31,483 claims against councils for vehicle damage caused by poor road conditions.

The total was 9 per cent up on the previous year, said the analysis of data from 204 out of Great Britain’s 207 local authorities.

Motorists claimed for damage including punctures, wrecked wheels and broken axles.

Source: Express, 13th October 2016


Drivers pay the price for pothole plague: Motorists now making a claim every 17 minutes for damage

Motorists whose cars are being damaged by potholes on Britain’s ‘crumbling third world roads’ are making a compensation claim to councils every 17 minutes, a damning new report reveals today.

But while the number of claims made has risen by nearly 9 per cent, the money that cash-strapped councils are paying out to hard-pressed motorists is actually falling, leaving drivers out of pocket, according to the respected RAC Foundation.

It says that last year drivers made at least 31,483 claims against councils across Britain for potentially ‘life-threatening’ vehicle damage – equivalent to one every 17 minutes.

Source: Daily Mail, 13th October 2016


A report on the crumbling state of British road infrastructure here, and the impact our broken roads has on the everyday driver. While the data may well be true, the source is hardly without vested interest:

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: ‘These figures are symptomatic of the inadequate funding available for local road maintenance.

‘Drivers worried about the cost of running a car scarcely know where to look. They must try to keep one eye on rising pump prices and another on the potholes that can add hundreds to their annual motoring bills by causing damage to tyres and wheels.

I’m sure the RAC have drivers’ best interests at heart in highlighting the damage that can be done by pot-holed roads, but they also won’t be too disappointed if the reminder prompts drivers to ensure they have breakdown cover, should the worst happen.

“Safe drivers are totally sexy!” says safe driving course

Road rage is a turn off for women but men find bad drivers funny

Speeding and texting while driving can also reduce attractiveness to women by 50 per cent, says scientific study

Bad driving is far from sexy … road rage, illegal overtaking and tailgating are the ultimate turn-offs for women.

Speeding and texting at the wheel can reduce your attractiveness to women by 50%, the first ever scientific study into the link between driving skills and desirability has found.

Source: Mirror, 27th August 2015


Boy racers beware! Aggressive drivers lose out to competent male motorists when it comes to impressing women

Men behaving badly behind the wheel are a physical turn off for more than four out of five women, a new report reveals.

Boy racers who display road-rage, make rude or aggressive gestures, show off by driving too fast or revving hard to impress passengers really do set female pulses racing – but for all the wrong reasons.

And because their performance leave much to be desired, they are more likely to be overtaken in the romance stakes by more competent male drivers who can demonstrate smooth clutch control and good lane discipline.

Source: Daily Mail, 27th August 2015


We’ve seen the maxim ‘sex sells’ hold true consistently in the PR industry on this blog in the past, but who could possibly be trying to use the lure of sexual attraction to encourage safer driving?

Men showed a less mature emotional reaction, finding bad drivers to be amusing rather than repulsive, according to the study conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

The IAM teamed up with prominent behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings for the study using videos of both good and bad driving.

That’s right – taking an advanced safety course is actually the way to a woman’s heart.

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive, said: “The results from the survey piqued our interest, so we enlisted Jo and a team of scientists to put the science behind the theory.”

By ‘putting the science behind the theory’ Sarah actually means ‘paying a PR company to find a scientist willing to pretend this is more than an advert’.

“Bad driving not only has an impact on the safety of our roads, but can also affect your relationships. Being able to manoeuvre properly and drive carefully should be much higher up on people’s priorities.”

While I couldn’t possibly disagree with the safe-driving sentiment, I do wish the IAM put accuracy and standards somewhat higher up their priorities.


“Parents do a lot of driving!” says tyre manufacturer (this year)

Mum and dad’s taxi service: Parents drive 27,000 miles ferrying their children around

Parents often joke about providing a taxi service for their children and new figures show it’s no wonder they feel like full-time chauffeurs.

Parents rack up 26,741 miles driving their children around by the time they turn 20, according to a new study.

As parents ferry their children to and from school, friends’ houses and clubs, it means they clock up 197 days at the wheel.

Source: Daily Mail, 2 June 2014


It’s an age-old story: the put-upon parent and ferrying their children around, being treated like a taxi service. In this particular instance, it’s easy to see who placed this story into the press:

Meanwhile, parents are sat waiting for their children in the car for 30 hours and 46 minutes a year, according to the study by Goodyear.

Goodyear, of course, being the tyre manufacturer – highlighting to parents just how much driving is involved in raising a child.

But, as I mentioned, this is an age-old story, and Goodyear aren’t the first to realise the newsworthiness of this fairly inane finding. Take, for example, a story which appeared in the Mail back in 2013, on behalf of Sainsbury’s car insurance:

Taxi of mum and dad ‘would cost £55 a week at black cab rates’

The taxi service of mum and dad would cost around £55 a week if charged at black cab rates, a survey has found.

Parents are each clocking up more than 1,000 miles, putting nearly £2,000 on the family ‘meter’ and spending more than three full days’ waiting time each year as they act as unpaid chauffeurs for their children.

Collectively Britain’s ten million parents are clocking up an annual bill of nearly £20billion in running costs plus another £10billion ‘waiting time’, according to the study by Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance.

Source: Daily Mail, 23 March 2013


Or, indeed, the following from the Mail in June 2012, courtesy of Sainsbury’s car insurance again:

‘Taxi’ parents spent two days a year waiting in their cars for their offspring

Parents who double as their children’s unpaid chauffeurs spend more than two and a half days a year sitting in their cars ‘waiting’ for their off-spring to finish their sporting and social events, new research reveals today (Thursday).

The ‘mum and dad cabbies’ waste on average an hour and a quarter of their lives every week on stand-by while their sons and daughters do their thing – after they’ve been driven to their appointments, says the report by Sainsbury’s car insurance.

Source: Daily Mail, 14 June 2012


In fact, eagle-eyed readers might recognise the poor, put-upon parent in the photos accompanying each of the three stories – given that the Mail used precisely the same set of stock photos for all three articles. They very much seem to be the Daily Mail’s go-to stock driving family.

This poor lady isn’t the only stock-parent cursed to spend eternity behind the wheel, however – the same story also appeared in June 2011 on behalf of Halford’s Autocentre and even as far back as February 2008, when the AA brought it to the Mail’s attention.

It’s enough to drive you to distraction.

“People keep valuables in unsecured garages!” says home insurer

End of road for the garage? Half of Britain’s motorists now use theirs to store household clutter with average holding £1,650 of ‘stuff’

It could be the end of the garage as we know it. Half of Britain’s motorists no longer use theirs to house the car, a survey has found.

Sports gear, gardening equipment and household clutter now fill many garages, with some families even converting the building into living space.

A study by RAC Home Insurance concludes that nearly half – 4.6million – of Britain’s 10.6million garages are no longer being used for their original purpose.

Source: Daily Mail, 29 May 2014

"People keep valuables in unsecured garages!" says home insurer

Alas, the death of the humble garage – the small, gated house for cars, lest your vehicle be seen by the outside world. Instead, the age of acquisition has our cars left homeless and bereft, ousted instead for all manner of tat… and a fair amount of non-tat, too:

And among the half-empty paint pots and rusty gardening tools are some valuable possessions, with the average garage holding £1,650-worth of ‘stuff’. That equates to £7.6billion across Britain

Almost eight billion pounds of stuff left lying around in garages? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me, and also to the RAC’s Home Insurance team:

The RAC report said: ‘The death of the garage as a place to keep the car is now confirmed.
It suggests we have become a nation of hoarders with our garages capturing the overspill from our homes which are not built with enough storage space available for today’s consumers.’

It would be easy to dismiss this story as either untrue or inconsequential, given that cars these days are much less susceptible to the hazards of the weather, and have absolutely zero chance of actually caring if they’re kept on the street or in a tiny brick car-house. However, there’s real drama in the ‘death of the garage’, as RAC spokesman Simon Williams explains:

‘It’s frightening to think that nearly five million garages are not used for the purpose they were made.

‘The findings of our research appear to indicate that there is an issue with the design of houses as people do not have enough space to keep all their possessions in the house itself and many garages are so small that anyone in the car has to perform a contortionist act to get out.’

It’s fair to say the RAC have a much lower threshold for fear than the rest of the population. Still, Simon has some sage and entirely-impartial advice to justify why RAC Home Insurance paid good money for this particular piece of PR:

‘For all those who use their garage for extra storage, security is an important issue to consider as they are relatively easy targets for thieves looking for high value items such as bikes and tools.

‘That’s why it is essential to have the right insurance in case the worst should happen.’

So, garage-owners of the UK: take out RAC Home Insurance today, and perhaps finally Simon Williams will be able to set his fears to bed and sleep more easily in his converted-garage-bedroom.

“Some of our members wash cars less often than others!” says breakdown service

July 10th, 2012

From the Daily Mail, July 9th, 2012:

Wealthier motorists are ‘too posh to wash’ their cars, an AA survey reveals today.

They are more willing to drive dirtier vehicles for longer than poorer but prouder owners who prefer to keep their cars clean.

Only one in 17 car owners from professional and managerial backgrounds wash their vehicle once a week, reveals the survey. That compares with one in 12 among lower-income motorists, which includes manual and part-time workers.

Overall, a grubby 3 per cent of the 18,080 AA members surveyed admitted to washing their cars just once a year or not at all. Among women drivers, this figure doubled to 6 per cent.

While 18,080 represents a remarkably large sample size, it’s worth bearing in mind the self-selecting nature of the respondents – all of respondents were people who’d chosen to be members of the AA. This could throw up all sorts of biases – for example, the average higher-income driver may well be able to afford to be part of the AA, whereas the average lower-income driver may not.

In effect, this would bias the survey to include a higher proportion of those lower-income drivers who prioritise car care and thus fork out for AA cover, whereas the lower-income driver who doesn’t see car care as as much of a priority will be missing from the survey – a distinction which may be lessened where the drivers have more disposable income.

What’s more, the ensuing breakdown is little more than data-mining – without outlining ahead of time the questions you’re looking to answer (such as ‘do wealthier people neglect washing their cars?’), any findings from the data can’t be confidently stated, especially with the narrow margins involved.

Take for example the 1 in 17 wealthier-backgrounded people who wash their car each week, compared to the 1 in 12 people of lower-income: broken down to a percentage, this is the difference between 5% and 8% – which may not pass for statistically significant. It’s certainly not enough to assert that poorer people are ‘prouder’ of their cars.

Consider also – does the survey show that poorer people have cleaner cars, or that people of lower-income wash their own cars more often than those who have the disposable income to pay to have their car cleaned by someone else? Similarly, the statement ‘3% of people admitted to washing their cars just once a year’ may well show that there are unwashed cars around, or it may actually show the number of people who wouldn’t say they had ‘washed their car’ if someone else had washed it for them. Without access to the survey and the questions, we have data but no information.

The survey showed that drivers in Scotland and North-East England have the cleanest cars, with 11 per cent of owners washing them every week. This compares to just 4 per cent in London and South-West England.

Rather confusingly, here, the AA has changed its mind as to what the data represents – if the more well-off amongst us wash our own cars less often than the lower-income driver, would a higher incidence of car-washing in the North East show a higher proportion of cleaner cars, or a higher proportion of lower-income drivers? Again, we have data but no information.

AA president Edmund King said: ‘The Victorian concept of the ‘great unwashed’ perhaps needs to be reversed as richer drivers have dirtier motors.’

Before we go overturning any old adages, it’s probably best to analyse and understand what story we’ve uncovered. If we don’t we’re largely left with a case of Have Data, Will Mine.