Drivers don't understand dashboard warning symbols

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Millions of British motorists don't know what the warning lights on their dashboard mean, according to new research.

The study of 2,000 drivers by Accident Advice Helpline revealed that nine in 10 have had a symbol pop up on the dashboard which they haven't recognised.

One in three cannot recognise which symbol is the headlamp indicator, while 27% are unable to identify the 'check engine' sign.

What's more, even when drivers understand what the car is warning them about, very few know how to deal with the problem themselves.

Almost two thirds of those polled have no idea how to check the oil and six in 10 don't know how to change the coolant. Just under half admitted that they don't know how to change a tyre and 44% don't know how to change the windscreen wipers.

Another 58% have no idea what their tyre thread limit should be, when it becomes illegal, or how to check it.

Commenting on the findings, David Carter, spokesman for Accident Advice Helpline, said: "It's worrying how little drivers know about their own cars.

"Knowing the meaning of a dashboard symbol on your car could be the difference between having an accident or not."

So, what do people do when a dashboard symbol pops up?

In the survey, 45% of drivers said they would look online if they didn't know what the warning light was. The remainder would take their car to a garage or ask friends or family, although 3% admitted that they would just continue to drive their car until it started to feel unsafe.

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