More than £120 million has been 'lost' in the past year by drivers who broke down and didn't have breakdown insurance, according to new research from the AA.
According to the AA, around two million people with no form of car breakdown cover
broke down over the past 12 months and therefore had to arrange costly emergency one-off roadside assistance.
According to the AA, playing 'roadside roulette' can cost £100s, and when money is tight, it is a particularly dangerous gamble.
"It might seem tempting to save a few quid now and gamble that your car will carry you through the downturn without crunching to a halt - but driving without breakdown cover is like roadside roulette," said Andy Taylor, AA Patrol of the Year.
The AA's research revealed that motorists that breakdown without car breakdown cover are paying, on average, £90 for an emergency call out, which is more than three times the cost of AA breakdown cover
, which starts at £29 a year.
This cost rose further still when the car could not be fixed at the roadside and had to be transported to a garage.
"It will cost you dearly if you break down - in money, time and sheer stress," continued Mr Taylor, "just ask those who have lost £120 million in the last year - that's enough to buy 12,000 new cars."
Mr Taylor says that battery and tyre problems and mishaps with keys cause a third of all breakdowns and can "strike at any time, regardless of the age or type of car."
"Driving unprotected is just not worth the risk," he warns.
The AA says that in the winter, the heavy use of car heaters and lights means drivers are twice as likely to run down their car battery, and flat tyres are 40 per cent more likely in November than in June.
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