It’s a feeling every motorist has experienced at least once in the run-up to payday: you’re trying to scrape every last drop of fuel out of your tank, and the dreaded fuel warning light comes on.
But exactly how long will your car last on its warning light fumes? And will you get in trouble with the police if you run out of petrol on a busy road?
How long your car will run on its warning light
Average time after light comes on by model
1 Ford Fiesta 37 miles
2 Vauxhall Corsa 29 miles
3 Ford Focus 40 miles
4 Volkswagen Golf 42 miles
5 Nissan Qashqai N/A
6 Vauxhall Astra 26 miles
7 Volkswagen Polo 39 miles
8 Audi A3 42 miles
9 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 46 miles
10 MINI Cooper 45 miles
A common mistake is the belief that a car will run for 50 miles on its fuel warning light. It’s actually considerably less in many cases.
Every vehicle is different, and variables include the size of your tank, the setting for the warning light by the manufacturer, and of course the driving style and conditions at the time the light comes on.
Some drivers fill up immediately when the light comes on, others take a more ‘I know what my car can do’ kind of approach.
Car insurance company LV Insurance has released a list of exactly how far the 10 most common types of car will run on their warning light – and it’s less than you think.
A Ford Fiesta will last 37 miles on average, while a Vauxhall Corsa will last just 29 miles.
Will I get in trouble for running out of fuel?
Drivers who run out of fuel on a motorway or dual carriageway and move their vehicle out of the way of the traffic flow do not normally face any action.
Before entering the motorway make sure you have sufficient fuel to make it to the next service area. All clear now. XR100 pic.twitter.com/Pimxr8IPhA
— WestYorks Police RPU (@WYP_RPU) September 25, 2017
However, on some roads and the new smart motorways with no hard shoulder, a lane will have to be closed and speed limits changed, which could potentially be viewed as causing a disruption by traffic police.
For example, those who stop while on the road, blocking traffic, can be issued with a ticket for causing an obstruction.