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How UK driving habits have changed during COVID lockdown

 It’s been 3 months since the UK lockdown was implemented and as the restrictions are beginning to ease we’re curious how the driving habits in the UK have changed and what it’s meant for the environment. 

What national changes have we seen amongst UK drivers?

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen as a nation amongst UK drivers is how dramatically congestion has decreased since the government advised everyone to stay home. Data from TomTom has revealed that on the normally busy London roads, traffic dropped by a huge 78% three weeks into the lockdown. Even now the numbers are still considerably lower, both during the week and on weekends, as more and more people are choosing to either walk or ride a bike to work where possible.

London isn’t the only city that has seen big congestion drops though. In Manchester, congestion levels were down by an outstanding 83% while in Brighton and Hove a drop of 69% was recorded. Even the use of public transport has dropped, with the Citymapper app showing a fall of 90% of people planning their journeys, as the majority of people are either furloughed or working from home.

Of course, with the traffic on the roads noticeably down, petrol stations are feeling the effects and many, particularly those in rural areas, may have to close. Despite the cost of fuel being at an all-time low, petrol stations have seen a 75% reduction in sales. However, it's not yet known if some of the more severely affected stations will be able to recover once the COVID-19 lockdown has passed. With an expected boost in travel, especially long road-trips to visit family members, the stations could thrive.

Has the air quality improved in the UK? 

While the lockdown has seen some extremely negative effects on the travel and transport industry, the lack of nitrogen dioxide has had a positive impact on the country’s air quality. Professor James Lee from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science has said that “the air is definitely much healthier” and “these are big changes - pollution levels at the moment are the equivalent of a holiday, say an Easter Sunday.”

With the stay-at-home orders meaning less traffic on the road and less transport being used, we’ve seen a 40% drop in nitrogen dioxide across the UK. This is a significantly lower level for this time of year. The improved air quality could help millions of UK residents who suffer from lung conditions and it’s rumoured that once we are past COVID-19 the sales in electric cars will see a big rise.

Even outside of the UK, the impact that Coronavirus has had on the environment has been a real eye-opener for many. In Wuhan, for example, NASA released images showing the dramatic decline in pollution from the beginning of 2019 to when millions went into quarantine. This reduction has yet to rebound and will undoubtedly be an overall benefit to human health.

Are animals taking over the UK roads?

When the humans are away the animals have come out to play! With the UK roads being quiet and empty over the last couple of months animals such as deer, goats and sheep have been taking advantage. They've been spotted wandering on motorways and in towns and villages in the search for food.

In fact, in a small Welsh town, a herd of goats have been thoroughly enjoying their freedom. Although, residents have jokingly branded them as vandals for eating some hedges in the town square and trespassing in several front gardens! A herd of deer have also been seen in East London grazing on the garden in front of a housing estate, which was a delight for many people to see as deer are usually timid creatures that aren't seen often!

It's not just the UK where animals have been freely exploring though. More monkey's than usual have been seen running around the roads, fighting each other for scraps of food. An alligator was spotted enjoying an isolated lunch on a beach in South Carolina, USA. And a kangaroo was caught on camera hopping through the streets of Adelaide in Australia!

How many UK drivers are now working from home 

In April 2020, the UK's Office for National Statistics released data that showed 49.2% of the employed adults had been working from home since the social distancing measures were introduced. This is an enormous jump from the 5.1% of people who were already working from home in 2019!

Driving to and from work was one of the most popular modes of transport for UK commuters, with 67% of employed people using their car for work before the lockdown. While there may be a big spike in traffic and congestion once workers begin to return, many British drivers are prepared to change their routines and walk to work where possible to maintain the cleaner air. The UK government has even pledged £250m toward improvements in cycling and walking infrastructure.

What have Chipex drivers been up to?

We recently ran several polls on our Facebook page to find out what our Chipex customers have been up to and how their driving habits had changed since lockdown. 

A huge 87% of voters said they were using their car less which was unsurprising, but that hasn't stopped people from ensuring their car is in tip-top condition! 74% of voters are cleaning their car much more regularly than they used to. With no weekend plans and lots of free time on everyone's hand, car's are really getting spoiled.  

26% of voters claimed they've SORN'd their car as it's just been sitting in a garage or on a driveway for months so they've decided to stop taxing and insuring it for the time being. But, interestingly, more people, 58% of voters have said that they are actually spending more money on their cars, presumably with special cleaning treatments and maintenance that drivers didn't have time for before lockdown.

If you want to spend some time getting your car shining like it's brand new again, check out our range of Chipex car care products. Now is also the ideal time to use our revolutionary Chipex car touch up paint to repair those little chips and scratches.

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