UK drivers 'against toll roads'

British motorists are largely opposed to the idea of toll roads, according to new research.

Six out of 10 (60%) drivers do not support them and around nine out of 10 (91%) said they do not trust the Government to spend the money made from tolls on new roads, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) survey revealed.

Around eight out of 10 (79%) motorists said they would not support the introduction of tolls on existing roads.

Making car tax discs more expensive would be a preferable option than toll roads for 40% of respondents, while a similar proportion (41%) said they would not support tolls even if other taxes were reduced.

With various issues relating to car finance hitting the headlines in recent months - including rising petrol prices and reports of people switching to more economical used cars - the survey also revealed that motorists would be especially opposed to the introduction of toll roads in their local areas.

Almost half (47%) of motorists said they don't plan their journey to deliberately avoid using toll roads.

However, more than half (56%) said they would use rural or local roads to avoid toll charges if tolls were introduced on their local motorway.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said there is a clear lack of appetite for toll roads among motorists at a time when the cost of motoring has reached "an all-time high".

He said motorways are actually the UK's safest roads and the introduction of tolls could mean pushing motorists on to more dangerous rural roads as they look to save money.

"The Government has a very hard job ahead to convince drivers that tolls are the only way to deliver new roads and improve existing ones. Only by reducing other motoring taxes can this policy gain the support of the motorist," he said.

Meanwhile, the IAM has released some advice for driving in wintry weather to tie in with the unseasonal freeze seen across much of the UK this month.

If a journey is essential then the IAM is urging motorists to ensure their vehicle is completely clear of snow and ice - including on the roof - and they have full visibility before setting off.

IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger suggested people consider working from home or changing their schedule to completely keep out of harm's way: "Avoid travelling unless completely necessary, and don't ignore police warnings or advice to avoid specific routes."

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