Clueless in the U.K.

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A lack of car maintenance can cause road safety issues and 72% of drivers don't know how to check their brake fluid. If a car has insufficient brake fluid, air can get into the brake lines and your vehicles ultimately could stop working and cause serious problems, not only for you but also for others.” –Gareth Kloet, head of car insurance for U.K.-based insurance comparison service Confused.com

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Forgive the dig at our cousins across the pond, folks, but I just couldn’t resist crafting a title for this post that played off the classic Sex Pistols diatribe Anarchy in the U.K. (and no, thankfully, I’m not going to link to that particular assault on the human ears today!)

Yet you’ve got to admit this title is appropriate, for other response is there when a survey finds that 69% of motorists in the United Kingdom (the traditional – if now frowned upon – moniker that collectively refers to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) have no clue how to check their engine coolant?

Or that 57% of U.K. drivers say they don't even know how to change a tire, with 47% also unable to even locate the jack, much less properly operate it?

Or that 72% say they are have no idea about how to go about checking brake fluid levels?

Those are just some of the results from a poll conducted by Confused.com; a U.K.-based insurance comparison service owned by the London-based Admiral Group plc. The company’s survey found motorists in the U.K. were so laid-back about car maintenance that 48% haven't even looked at their owner’s manual. But with over 28.5 million cars on the road in the U.K., such ignorance is less than funny – indeed, it is downright dangerous.

[In fact, Confused.com felt that there’s such widespread ignorance about car maintenance in the U.K. that it developed a video to help vehicle owners understand and perform the most basic of tasks – like how to check the engine oil level. Oh good grief, dear cousins, are you truly THAT far gone?]

"Car maintenance is essential,” noted Gareth Kloet, head of car insurance at Confused.com, in a statement.

“We all love a bit of TLC [that’s ‘tender loving care’ for the clueless set] so don't forget your cars need a helping hand to,” he said. “A lack of car maintenance can cause road safety issues, especially if 72% of drivers don't know how to check their brake fluid. If a car has insufficient brake fluid, air can get into the brake lines and your vehicles ultimately could stop working and cause serious problems, not only for you but also for others.”

Katie Shephard, spokesperson for Brake, a U.K.-based road safety charity, added that since driving is one of the most dangerous things people do on a daily basis -- five people are killed and 65 injured on U,K, roads every day, she said -- it's vital that all drivers are performing regular maintenance checks of their vehicle to ensure they are safe on the road.

Of course, one shudders to think what a similar survey of everyday motorists conducted here in the U.S. might turn up – the findings might force me to then pen a “Clueless in the U.S.A.” post, though in this case, I’d be referencing the perhaps less offensive Beach Boys anthem Surfing U.S.A.

Yet that would be poor consolation, indeed, if the average motorist over here displays the same level of ignorance concerning car maintenance matters as our U.K. brethren.

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