THIS is how many motorists think they’ve seen a GHOST while driving on the UK’s haunted roads – and the figure might shock you.
More than a third of Londoners say they’ve encountered a spectre while behind the wheel - the highest total from a new independent survey of UK drivers by Select Car Leasing.
Folks in Scotland and North West England are also convinced there are more ‘dead’ things on the Tarmac than just roadkill.
And one in seven Brits overall (13 per cent) agreed with the statement: “I believe I have seen a ghost when driving.”
James O’Malley, Select Car Leasing company director, said: “Britain has a rich heritage when it comes to the things that go bump in the night and we’re considered a ‘haunted isle’ for a reason.
“But it’s not just ancient, creaking castles where spooks reside – because there’s almost as many ghosts as there are potholes on our haunted highways!
“Our ancient capital London appears to be a spooky hotspot, with more residents there compared with anywhere else in the UK who claim to have seen a road phantom.”
The poll found 36 per cent of people in the Greater London area thought they’d seen a road ghost at some point in their lives, compared with 15 per cent of respondents in Scotland and 14 per cent in North West England.
And if you’re male you’re more likely to see a road wraith – with 15 per cent of men saying they’d witnessed one compared to 11 per cent of women.
Meanwhile the survey – of 1,000 adults and conducted by Select Car Leasing – also found that 34 per cent of respondents said they believed in the idea of ‘ghosts’, whether on the road or elsewhere.
Mr O’Malley added: “If you analyse some of the UK’s most famous eyewitness reports, there are some really common road ghost tropes.
“One involves drivers who believe they’ve accidentally collided with a pedestrian, only for the mysterious ‘casualty’ never to be found, having seemingly disappeared into thin air.
“Others involve the dreaded ‘phantom hitchhikers’ - who thumb a lift only to disappear without trace from the backseat of the startled motorist’s car.
“Then there are other tales where motorists are physically forced off the road by terrifying, invisible hands clutching their steering wheels.
“It’s enough to give you pause for thought the next time you inch your way down a narrow, unlit country road in the middle of the night.”
Established in 2004, Select Car Leasing is one of the UK's largest independent specialists for car leasing as well as commercial and van leasing.
Data Source: Independent primary research study conducted by One Poll of 1,000 UK drivers for Select Car Leasing
NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO SAID THEY HAD SEEN A ROAD GHOST, BY REGION
Greater London - 36 per cent
Scotland - 15 per cent
North West - 14 per cent
East Midlands - 10 per cent
Northern Ireland - 10 per cent
South West - 10 per cent
Wales - 10 per cent
West Midlands - 9 per cent
South East - 9 per cent
North East - 8 per cent
East Anglia - 7 per cent
** % of respondents who answered ‘strongly agree’ or ‘somewhat agree’ to the statement ‘I believe I have seen a ghost when driving before.’
Here’s some of the UK’s most haunted roads:
The B3212 is home to the ‘hairy hands of Dartmoor’ myth - in which motorists describe how a disembodied pair of mitts grabs their steering wheel and tries to run them off the road. In 1962 holiday-maker Florence Warwick said, ‘I looked up and saw a pair of huge, hairy hands pressed against the windscreen. I tried to scream, but couldn't. I was frozen with fear.’
The ghost of the ‘Blue Bell Hill Bride’ has been scaring motorists since the 1970s.
By the 1990s, local cops knew all about the legend after an unlucky male had an apparent ‘collision’ with the ghost in 1992. PC Roger Ginn reported, ‘Once we were satisfied there was no sign of an accident, no damage to his car, and particularly in view of where it had occurred, we just had to write it off as another sighting of the Blue Bell Hill ghost.’
B1249: East Riding of Yorkshire
Sightings of supernatural werewolves have been reported since the 1960s. The most recent came in August 2016 when motorist Jemma Waller, 24, described seeing a monster which looked ‘like a big dog, probably bigger than my car, but it had a human face’ near the village of Halsham.
The spirit of a dead RAF officer is thought to haunt this stretch of road near Belsay.
In August 2015 Gateshead-based radio presenters Rob Davies and Chris Felton spotted the phantom, with Rob explaining, ‘He was dressed in what I can only describe as RAF gear and was holding something under his arm, which looked like a helmet or some kind of bag. It was only seconds and no other car had been past, but when we turned around he was gone.’
A75 ‘Kinmount Straight’: Scotland
Dubbed the ‘most haunted highway in Scotland’, the A75 is apparently home to ‘screaming hags, eyeless phantoms and a menagerie of unearthly creatures’, according to local paranormal investigator Kathleen Cronie.
M6 between Crewe and Knutsford: Cheshire
This section of the M6 has seen scores of ghost reports, and in 2017 one eyewitness - who did not wish to be named - told Love It! Magazine, ‘To me, it looked like the figure had run across the lanes and was now waiting for me to him them - as if they were suicidal. But as I got closer the figure didn’t look like a solid figure. It looked almost translucent. And then the figure just vanished. There was nothing there. I literally blinked and it had gone.’
A616: Stocksbridge, near Sheffield, South Yorks
In 1997 eyewitness Paul Ford told his local newspaper, ‘From a distance it looked like someone trying to cross the road but as I got nearer I could see it was like a man in a long cloak. Then I realised it had no face and it was just hovering above the road. I just slammed the brakes on and swerved to avoid hitting it, and it was only through Jane (his wife) grabbing the wheel that we managed to stop the car from crashing.’