Motorway breakdowns up by 10%

As Ireland gets used to having a Motorway network, the AA is getting used to rescuing cars on it. Motorway breakdowns have increased by 10% in the last year, and running out of fuel is a serious problem.

“We are seeing more cars run out of fuel this year” says the AA’s Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “There are two reasons really. Fuel has obviously become seriously expensive this year which is hurting us all. This means a lot of people are tempted to run low. We have frequently heard people make the comment that they can’t afford to refuel until payday. Also, there is still a shortage of service areas on the network.”

The M50, which carries in the region of 110,000 vehicles daily along its busiest section, is unsurprisingly the country’s busiest motorway for breakdowns as well. Following the M50, the M1 corridor between Dublin and North of Dundalk ranks second in terms of breakdown volumes, while the M7 between Naas and Limerick ranks third. This is despite the fact that at 185km, the M7 is over double the length of the M1. In both cases the number of breakdowns are up on 2011 by 21% and 10% respectively. Also in the top five were the M4 Lucan to Mullingar and the M8 Dublin to Cork routes.

“It’s been a busy year already for our Patrols for breakdowns and we can’t say enough this bank holiday weekend that extreme care is needed if you breakdown on a motorway” Says Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs, AA Ireland.

“If your circumstances allow, it’s always best to find a safe place off the motorway rather than stopping on the hard shoulder.”

For motorists who find themselves with no alternative but to stop on the hard shoulder the AA is urging motorists not to attempt any repairs themselves.

“We constantly hear eye witness reports from our Patrols of motorists actually standing over the hard shoulder line, on the motorway itself to fix a puncture putting themselves in a highly highly dangerous situation. It really is crazy behavior” says Faughnan.

On what has been a hideous bank holiday so far for road safety, the AA is urging all motorists to slow down and take great care. “The roads are busy, the roads are wet and the roads are dangerous.” says Faughnan. “Lives have been lost already this weekend. We all have a responsibility to slow down and drive with great care.”

Fig. 1 % annual increase/decrease of the number of breakdowns attended by AA Ireland on our motorway network (Figures based on periods Jan to April 2011 vs. Jan-April 2012):

Motorway Estimated/actual length % increase/decrease Ranking by number of breakdowns (Jan ‘12 to end of April ‘12 )
M1 (Dublin to north of Dundalk) 90.7 km 21% 2
M2 (Killshane to north of Ashbourne) 13 km -75% 11
M3 (Dublin to north of Kells) 51.4 km -30% 9
M4 (Lucan to Mullingar) 61.9 km 2% 4
M6 (M4 from Dublin to Kinnegad and M6 from Kinnegad to east of Athlone, west of Athlone to Galway) 144 km 31% 6
M7 (Naas to Limerick) 185 km 10% 3
M8 (Dublin – Cork) 143 km 2% 5
M9 (DublinWaterford) 116.75 km -9% 7
M11 (Shankill/Bray Bypass, Ashford/Rathnew Bypass, Arklow/Gorey Bypass) 62.5 km 240% 8
M17 (Galway – Tuam) 25.5 km 0 12
M18 (Shannon, Co. Clare to north of Gort) 70.8 km -87% 10
M20 (Outskirts of Limerick City to Patrickswell, (Remainder to Cork Planned) Approx. 90 km -100% 12
M50 (Dublin ring road) 49.25 km 10.5% 1
OVERALL MOTORWAY NETWORK 1,110 km 10% N/A

Fig. 2 Top ten causes of breakdowns on the Irish Motorway network between 01/01/12 to 30/04/12

Component % of total breakdowns
Tyre/wheel 28%
Out of fuel/misfuelling 11%
Engine 8%
Clutch 5.1%
Alternator 4%
Timing Belt 3%
Battery 2%
Cylinder Head Gasket 2%
Engine Oil 2%
Turbo charger/pipes 1%