With the price of diesel and petrol hitting record highs – 144.92ppl and 137.79ppl today – many drivers are putting off essential maintenance and servicing on their vehicles leading to an increase in some breakdowns, says the AA.

The latest research from the AA shows that more than one in 10 (11%) drivers are cutting back on car servicing; and 69% are using their car less or reducing spending in other areas or both, rising to 79% in the lowest socio-economic group.

Consequently, AA patrols are attending increasing numbers of preventable breakdowns including a 12% increase in tyre failures since 2009 and around a 20% rise in the number of out-of-fuel call-outs over the same period.

AA patrols regularly report seeing cars with barely any tread on the tyres with many members blaming money worries. As well as being illegal and potentially dangerous, minimal tread means the tyre is much more likely to puncture. High fuel prices also leads to the temptation to fill up as infrequently as possible.

Family budgets have been the main focus of the impact of high fuel prices but AA evidence shows that road safety is now being significantly compromised.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “For a long time now, high fuel prices have directly affected spending in many other areas. However, while eating out less or not seeing the latest blockbuster is one thing, it’s quite another matter when safety is put on the line by cutting back on essential servicing.

“The government has to listen before many families and businesses are driven off the road by the relentless burden of record fuel prices.”