Half of drivers ignore dashboard warning lights, according to poll


How well do you know car dashboard warning lights? As a poll finds that half of drivers ignore them – take our quiz on the most common alerts

  • A survey of 2,000 UK adults has revealed that 46% of drivers ignore the alerts
  • One in five claim they will drive for two or three days before investigating issues
  • Two in five ignore them hoping they’ll go off and a third leave them in fear of expensive repair bills
  • Take our quiz to see how well you know nine common dashboard warning lights 

Motorists are being warned to not ignore illuminated dashboard warning lights in their cars when they return to the road after – or during – the third national lockdown.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults by dealer group Robins & Day revealed that almost half fail to immediately address the alerts, with many neglecting them out of laziness.

And by continuing to use their car when a warning light is telling them not to, motorists are risking causing more damage to their motors and could see repair costs spiral. 

But how big a warning is that light and what does it mean? Take our quiz to see if you can correctly name nine of the most common dashboard warning lights. 

Do you act on dashboard warning lights? Some 46% of UK drivers polled said they ignore the alerts

Do you act on dashboard warning lights? Some 46% of UK drivers polled said they ignore the alerts

The dealer network’s poll found that 46 per cent of adults ignore a warning light on the dashboard of their car.

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Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 19 per cent said they would continue to use their vehicle for two or three days with a warning light illuminated before seeking to get the problem sorted. 

This is the case even if the warning light is red to signify it is a serious issue that need immediate action.

Amber, orange or other colour lights often mean something needs checking by a garage but the vehicle can still be driven.

When asked why they don’t action the warnings by taking the car to a dealership or garage, two in five (40 per cent) said they disregard it as a fault with the dashboard light itself, expecting it to go off again sooner or later.

Incredibly, over a third (34 per cent) try to push it to the back of their mind over fears of expensive repairs, while another quarter (24 per cent) cast the issue aside out of sheer laziness. 

When asked why they don't action the warnings by taking the car to a dealership or garage, two in five said they disregard it as a fault with the dashboard bulb itself

When asked why they don’t action the warnings by taking the car to a dealership or garage, two in five said they disregard it as a fault with the dashboard bulb itself

You could fail an MOT 

While failing to remedy a dashboard warning light can cause a more expensive problem, it can also cause issues if you’re taking your car for an MOT test.

Under current rules, some warning lights can result in an automatic fail.

These include alerts for problems with airbags, the electronic parking brake, electronic stability control, headlight main beam, electronic power steering, brake fluid level or issue with the seatbelt pre-tensioner. 

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Explaining the results of its study, the dealer group said: ‘Whilst it is completely reasonable not to know every single light on a dashboard, ensuring you have enough knowledge of the basics to help you diagnose a potential problem with your vehicle will prove to be a priceless skill, should an issue arise.

‘However, our study found that just a fifth (21 per cent) of UK drivers could identify the basic warning lights on their dashboard such as ‘low tyre pressure’ and ‘check oil’. Fifteen per cent of those surveyed believed they could identify all of the basic warning lights unaided, if required.

‘Our research also highlighted that three per cent of Brits did not know that their car manual was there to help them to identify any issues with their vehicle.’  

How well do you know the most common warning lights? Take our quiz below to see how many you can name correctly… 

If you’re unable to see the quiz on the This is Money or MailOnline app click on the  link to view it here.

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