BANK HOLIDAY BREAKDOWN STRESS COULD STAY WITH DRIVERS UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER
• The AA launches a roadside mindfulness hotline to help Brits stay calm on the road this Bank Holiday
• Breaking down is Britain’s biggest source of stress in the car
• Waiting for help to arrive causes huge anxiety
Thirty-three thousand cars taking to the roads could break down this bank holiday weekend and according to research from the AA, it will take the average British driver most of a working week to banish the ensuing stress, with almost one and a half thousand set to feel the effects for a month or more.
To help alleviate this, the AA is launching a free mindfulness phone line over the bank holiday weekend to help members who have broken down stay calm and in control while waiting for help to arrive. True to its ethos of fixing the person before fixing the car, the AA will keep lines open for the duration of the bank holiday, so those caught up in a breakdown can feel supported and reassured.
The new study reveals that following the initial panic of breaking down, drivers most fear the anxiety of waiting even a short time for help to arrive.
With one in seven (14%) feeling even more stressed in the passenger seat, this could be useful for more than just the driver.
Once in a safe location and only then, members can dial the dedicated phone line and be taken through a unique set of mindful tips, specifically designed to safely combat the stress of the roadside, with the aim of feeling like nothing happened once the AA arrives and gets them going again.
Breaking down has been voted the nation’s top source of stress while driving long distance. It is as stressful as missing a flight (both 37%) and more stressful than taking an exam (27%).
However, a fifth of drivers say they have no way of coping with the anxiety it causes (20%) and more than half (52%) say they don’t know what to do while they wait for help to arrive.
When asked how they usually cope with stress on the road, many said they end up getting angry with other drivers on the road (18%) or revert to coping strategies that are distracting and dangerous like turning music up loud (17%) and going over and over things in their mind (15%).
Max Holdstock, Patrol of the Year at the AA, comments: “Every day we arrive at break down scenarios and it is clear from the conversations we have with our members that that many find the unexpected experience hugely stressful.
“Our research suggests that some people would pay £100 or more for someone to keep them calm when broken down, so we hope our new service will help AA members relieve the stress and get back on the road feeling like nothing happened.”
Meditation expert Emma Mills, who has helped to create the new line says: “People use mindfulness and meditation to manage stress in other aspects of life, so it made sense to work with the AA to pioneer a roadside application of this.
“As any driver knows, on the road anything can happen, so we’ve specifically tailored these top meditation tips to offer a little gentle support and help people feel calmer while waiting in a safe place for the AA to arrive. I hope these tips will help to relieve some of the stress associated with breaking down, and help drivers feel ready for the journey ahead.”
The risk of breakdowns will be as present as ever on Britain’s roads over the bank holiday weekend, with drivers admitting to neglecting basic checks on their vehicles, which should be undertaken regularly to maintain a healthy car5 and especially before undertaking a long journey.
A quarter of people asked said they didn’t feel able to check their car’s oil or water (22% and 27%) and a third (32%) aren’t confident in getting their car regularly serviced. A fifth (21%) of drivers say they only check their car’s tyres and fluid levels every six months or less frequently.
The AA roadside mindfulness phone line is available to call, free of charge, from 00.01AM on the 24th August to 23.59PM on the 29th August on 0800 567 7766