Increase in driving blamed on ‘lockdown fatigue’

The number of miles being driven on UK roads has increased by more than a fifth since the second week of the coronavirus lockdown, new figures indicate – with experts blaming “boredom”.

RAC data shows that drivers clocked up 23% more miles per day last week compared with four weeks earlier.

The figure is based on analysis of hundreds of thousands of trips taken by insurance customers with telematics units fitted to their vehicles.

The firm also recorded an 11% rise in the number of cars on the road over the same period, and an 18% increase in breakdowns.

Some 41% of 1,500 UK drivers surveyed by the RAC admitted to using their vehicles more frequently than earlier in the lockdown.

The most common reason was for food shopping (23%), while 9% said they drive to pick up essential supplies or to go to a pharmacy.

Some 5% said they use their vehicles to buy alcohol, and the same proportion are visiting DIY stores.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “There is now mounting evidence that people are venturing back out in their vehicles for more essential, as well as arguably non-essential, journeys.

“This perhaps is being driven by lockdown fatigue and boredom while the sunny spring weather might also be enticing drivers back into their vehicles.

“Until anything concrete is confirmed, the current advice remains to only go out when necessary for essential purposes, or where you cannot work from home.

“Even where drivers need to head out to pick up food shopping, this should be done as infrequently as possible to help stop the spread of the virus.

“The question drivers should ask themselves before venturing out is ‘do I really need to?’”