One in every six motorists who have stopped to aid drivers that have suffered a breakdown has been turned away, according to new research.

The rejection of so-called "charitable motorists" is fuelled by growing distrust of other people in society, and Direct Line insurance reckon this is borne out by statistics that show 71% of motorists believe people have become more aggressive in the last decade.

Unsurprisingly, then, we are least likely to leap to the assistance of a car full of young lads.

Although 62% said they would consider stopping to help a stranded driver, more than half say they are less likely to help today than they were ten years ago. Around a third said they would never pull over to help.

Unaccompanied women drivers are the most likely to be offered assistance and yet of those that rejected offers of help, women were twice as likely than men. No attractive lady has ever turned down my help, of course.

Direct Line’s Emma Holyer said: “Breaking down is not only inconvenient it’s also a frightening experience for many drivers so it’s clear why motorists are reluctant to offer or accept help from strangers. To guarantee personal safety we are urging drivers to ensure you have breakdown cover in place so a trained mechanic is only a phone call away. If you were unfortunate enough to breakdown we’d advise motorists to call their recovery service and also notify a friend or relative”.