1 in 5 drivers ignore dashboard warning lights

Dashboard warning lights Christmas jumper

Image credit: Halfords

Do you pay attention to your dashboard warning lights?

New research reveals more than a fifth (22%) of motorists are currently ignoring a lit-up warning light on their car’s dashboard. 

“Dashboard warning lights should never be ignored”

With one in five drivers ignoring these important symbols, Halfords estimates that up to 117 million dashboard lights could be illuminated across the country right now. 

Almost a third (30%) of drivers admit to simply overlooking warning lights, while less than half of drivers confident they know what they mean.

Consequently, 18% of those surveyed said they had suffered a breakdown as a result of having failed to pay attention to an illuminated dashboard light.

The research also unearthed excuses for leaving warning lights lit, with drivers not having the time to rectify them and not believing them to be safety-critical cited as popular reasons.

Brake systems accounted for 18% of warning lights left on, with 16% being due to airbag faults.

Ignoring certain lights can lead to MOT failures or fixed-penalty fines, which is why Halfords has released a limited-edition Christmas jumper decorated with warning lights for auction, to help raise awareness. Every jumper comes with a guide to explain what each light means, and all proceeds will go to road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.

Tony Greenidge, CEO of IAM RoadSmart, said: “Dashboard warning lights should never be ignored. Not only will they lead to an MOT fail, but they are almost always a pre-warning that something is about to stop working and that you could suddenly be stranded in a very dangerous place.

“The last thing anyone wants over the festive period is a totally avoidable breakdown, so get everything checked before that big trip and your car will be one less thing to stress about during the holidays.”

Dashboard warning lights: a brief guide

Engine: If this turns on, it could mean a lack of power, a misfire causing erratic stuttering when you press your accelerator, or something more serious. It’s worth getting your engine checked out as soon as possible.

Airbag: This means there could be a problem with your airbag, and it might not work correctly in the event of a crash, or open unexpectedly while you’re driving. Whatever the reason, make sure you get to the bottom of it.

Oil: Driving without enough oil can seriously harm your car’s engine, so make sure you check your oil level ASAP.

Power-assisted steering systems (EPAS): This could indicate a problem with your steering wheel, which could put you in danger on fast roads. Get to a garage as soon as you can.

To find out more about different signs, check out our informative run-down of dashboard warning lights and what they all mean.

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