Is the UK a Nation of Dangerous Drivers?
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Is the UK a Nation of Dangerous Drivers?

Is the UK a Nation of Dangerous Drivers?

Everyone thinks that they’re a responsible motorist, it’s all the other road users that cause problems. At least, that’s what our recent national consumer research study of 1,200 people across the UK has found.  A startling 98% of Brits consider themselves to be ‘safe drivers’.

However, the RAC reports that two thirds (65%) of fatalities in reported road accidents had driver error or reaction as a contributory factor.

So, as a nation, it seems that we may have some misplaced confidence about the safety of our driving habits.


Britons are Racking up Penalties

In contrast to this almost universal belief in ourselves as ‘safe drivers’, and despite increasingly strong government legislation and penalties, our national study has shown that Brits readily admit to a wide variety of driving offences.

The most common are…

1. Over 4 in 10 driving with just one hand on the wheel (43%)

2. 4 in 10 speeding in areas with no speed cameras (39%)

3. 4 in 10 eating/drinking while driving (37%)

4. One third accelerating through yellow lights (34%)

5. 1 in 5 not using indicators (22%)


Our findings also revealed that despite the well-publicised threat of six penalty points and a £200 fine, a variety of phone-related offences continue, including 1 in 7 checking mobile devices for messages (14%), 1 in 20 texting (5%) and 1 in 20 reading emails and accessing the internet (5%).

Males Guilty of More Driving-Related Offences

Interestingly, the survey reveals key differences between the kinds of offences that women and men are likely to commit. Men rate higher on more ‘driving-related’ offences such as driving with one hand, (46% vs. 41% for females), speeding (40% vs. 37%) and not using indicators (23% vs. 21%).


But Females More likely to Multi-Task… and Check Their Phone While Driving

However, women are more likely to commit more ‘multi-tasking’ related offences including eating or drinking while driving (41% vs. 33% for men), checking the mobile phone (17% vs. 11%), texting (7% vs. 4%) and removing items of clothing (12% vs. 7%).

Welsh and Scottish Drivers Have a Phone Fixation

Many people still can’t help checking their phone when driving, although in some regions, drivers are better than other. The worst UK regions for checking their mobile phones include:

1. Wales (20%)

2. Scotland (19%)

3. West Midlands (18%)

4. North East (18%)

However, people in East Anglia (10%), the North West (11%) and Yorkshire/Humber (11%) were less likely to do this.


How Safe is Your Car?

Another shocking revelation of our study was understanding of vehicle safety appears to be something that drivers are simply overlooking.

The results reveal that only 1 in 12 (8%) know their vehicle’s Euro NCAP safety rating. Without this basic knowledge, drivers are underestimating how the overall protection offered by their vehicle affects survival in the event of an accident.


Safety Features are in Demand

Despite British drivers overlooking their Euro NCAP rating, our research shows that the public sees a broad range of new safety technology as important on a new vehicle, with the top five most important or desired features believed to be:

1. Tyre Pressure Monitors

2. Blind Spot Monitoring

3. Engine Temperature Check

4. Slippery Surface Detection

5. Forward Collision Warning

Given poor tyre maintenance is the most common cause of car accidents in Britain in 2017 (according to Department for Transport), it’s positive here to see congruence between what is needed and what is rated as important.


Making Britain’s Roads Safer

Given the contrast that our survey has revealed between people’s beliefs about how safely they drive versus their actual driving behaviour, there are clearly steps that need taking by the government and the motoring industry in raising awareness about what constitutes truly safe driving practices.

Moreover, in the overall battle to reduce road fatalities and serious injuries, the survey reveals there may be a need for greater education around Euro NCAP safety ratings, as well as new car safety features, ultimately better-empowering drivers to make the right safety choice for them and their family when choosing their next car.

For more information on road safety and a range of other transport-related topics, visit the Select Car Leasing blog.

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