The age of chivalry may be dead, according to an investigation by ex-Top Gear presenter Quentin Willson.
A survey by Nationwide FlexPlus, in association with Willson, found that 86% of drivers would refuse to help a motorist who’d broken down – and 84% said no one stopped to help them last time they were left stranded.
More than half (54%) admitted they wouldn’t stop because they felt unable to offer any help, while 52% said they didn’t feel it was safe to stop and a third (33%) were worried the stranded motorists might be an unsavoury character.
Willson said: “In days gone by you might expect a cheerful chap in a Cortina to pull over and help to change your tyre, but according to Nationwide’s FlexPlus research, those days could be a thing of the past.
“If drivers find themselves broken down this bank holiday there are a few simple things they can do to protect themselves, such as moving their vehicle off the road, warning other road users by using their hazard lights and warning triangle, positioning their wheels away from the road, getting out of the car quickly to a safe place and phoning for assistance as soon as possible.”
Interestingly, gender plays a huge part in the chances of you being helped by a passing motorist – women are three times more likely to be rescued, with three quarters (72%) admitting they would assist a female driver compared to less than a quarter (23%) who would stop for a man.
When it comes to stopping, men (46%) are twice as likely as women (23%) to assist.
Nationwide’s head of FlexPlus current accounts, Dan King, added: “Unfortunately breaking down is a common and frustrating occurrence for British motorists, particularly during a busy bank holiday weekend when lots of people are on the road.
“With the research suggesting that we may not be able to rely solely on the goodwill of fellow motorists for help, it’s never been more important to have a backup plan if assistance isn’t immediately at hand, whether that be ensuring your car is fully maintained for the journey, making sure your phone is working and the battery is fully charged to taking breakdown cover to give you extra peace of mind.”
Video: would you help a motorist who’s broken down?