Industry News

The Motor Ombudsman urges drivers to put vehicle safety centre stage

posted on 14/06/2023
The Motor Ombudsman urges drivers to put vehicle safety centre stage

As the summer music festival season gets into full swing, a YouGov poll of 1,722 UK driving licence holders commissioned by The Motor Ombudsman has revealed that having to do vehicle maintenance checks before hitting the road to reach one of the many live venues across the country, may sound easier for some people than others.

Of the 56% (979) of those surveyed who said it would be likely they would take their own vehicle to a music festival if they had one, only around half (53%) said they would know how to check the tread depth of their tyres to ensure they were safe and above the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm. Conversely, the findings equally showed that over two thirds of respondents who would opt for personal transport, would be comfortable topping up the tyre pressure to manufacturer-recommended levels according to the amount of people and luggage being carried load being carried (69%), replenishing the screenwash (70%), and adding engine oil if needed (62%). Just under 10% of people who would make their way to a festival in a private vehicle, would either consult the car’s manual for instructions, or leave the responsibility of carrying out a safety inspection to a friend, family member or mechanic, before making their way to an event.  

With space often at a premium when sharing the ride with others, additional capacity beyond the main cabin and boot area may be needed. When respondents were questioned about how confident they would be to stow and tow luggage in a trailer, only around one in five (19%) said they would feel confident doing this. Similarly, when it comes to fitting accessories to the outside of the vehicle to carry extra baggage, just a third (33%) of people would be happy to attach a roof rack or bars, with a similar 35% feeling up to the task of installing the combination of roof bars and a roof box to get more room.

Planning ahead can often make for a smoother journey, and whilst a quarter of people admitted to the fact they would rely purely on their satellite navigation for the quickest route on the day, less than half of people (48%) would take the time to scour an online route map to get a sense of direction before dialing in their destination on a device, such as the in-car GPS or smartphone. In fact, only 25% said they would plan ahead, but would equally carry a fold-up paper map or road atlas as a backup in the event of experiencing any sat-nav signal black spots, or to master any unexpected diversions they encountered whilst on the move.

When quizzed about whether individuals would have any concerns if they were to take their own car to a music festival, close to six in ten survey participants (58%) said sitting in long queues of traffic would take centre stage in terms of any apprehensions about travelling to such a venue, whilst their vehicle getting bogged down in a field or on a campsite emerged as the biggest source of worry for just 38% of people. Furthermore, the research revealed that over a third (35%) said that breaking down with a mechanical or electrical issue would be front of mind if venturing to another part of the country in pursuit of musical performances, whilst one in three explained that forgetting something vital after they had left home, namely a phone charger, would be a source of anxiety. Conversely, running out of power (if driving an EV) would be a factor that would spark the least amount of alarm at merely 17% of respondents, whilst 14% would simply set off worry-free and take everything in their stride.

In light of the results of the recent study, The Motor Ombudsman has launched its #SafeandSound campaign to emphasise the importance of vehicle safety and being prepared when travelling to and from music festivals this summer. As part of the initiative, the Ombudsman for the automotive sector has created a downloadable Motoring Tips guide for festival goers when venturing by car to an event, to help prepare for the journey ahead and avoid any unnecessary interruptions whilst on the move.

Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director at The Motor Ombudsman said: “It can be easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of going to a festival, meaning vital preparations to ensure that a vehicle is safe and legal may fall by the wayside. ‘Safe and sound’ may be a play on words, but on a serious note, the campaign has been designed to communicate important messages, and put vehicle safety into the spotlight as part of the lead-up to enjoying live artist performances this summer.”

Bill added: “Our new #SafeandSound Motoring Tips complement our existing and comprehensive library of vehicle maintenance and summer driving resources on our website, whilst serving as an easily consulted aide-memoire for some of the essential checks, to allow motorists to start their journey on the right note when heading off to one of the many music festivals across the UK.” 

To view and download the #SafeandSound Motoring Tips For Music Festivals guide, visit

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