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Britainís Bad Driving Habits

Author: Select Car Leasing     Date: 31-10-2018

Bad habits and a lack of knowledge of driving laws appear to be contributing to a fatal overconfidence on British roads.  A new national research study conducted by Select Car Leasing investigates this issue in further detail.

As a nation, the British love driving. 

There are now over 25.8m cars on the road in the UK today, that’s nearly one for every two people and the figure is increasing at a rate of around 600,000 every year. Even given the vast number of vehicles on the road, you’ll rarely encounter someone who openly admits they’re a bad driver. 

This led us to wonder, how do people’s perceptions of their driving compare to the actual statistics? And are we really as safe as we think we are? We conducted an independent nationwide research study of 1,200 motorists around the UK to find out, and the results revealed some staggering information. Is it time we had a reality check on our driving?

 

Britain’s Bad Driving Habits – Key Findings

98% of us believe we are safe drivers… but less so if we are Welsh or Northern Irish

The South East and London have a high opinion of their driving but are the most deluded of everyone… they are more likely to believe they are safe, but they are much more liable to be in a crash

Londoners have the worst driving habits – but these are common across the UK… our habits behind the wheel show that Brits are failing to abide by some of the most basic driving laws and Londoners are the worst offenders

Whilst people in Northern Ireland have a higher likelihood of casualty, they are evidently very clear this is the case. They are quite aware they are not as safe drivers and the casualty statistics match!

Move to Scotland, the North East or East Midlands! People from these areas are much less likely to have a casualty… and they know this – very sensible drivers whose confidence is backed up by the low chance of an accident.

People in Wales need to stop worrying so much!... they don’t believe they are safe drivers, but have the 2nd lowest level of casualty in the UK and their awareness of driving laws is strong

We are not heeding the Government bans regarding using mobile phone in cars… 4 in 10 across the UK have use their mobile behind the wheel and this grows to more than half of drivers (55%) in London using their mobile while behind the wheel in the last 12 months

We don’t understand how safe our cars are… Less than 7% of UK drivers know their car’s EuroNCAP Safety, however drivers in Scotland once again showed their proficiency when it comes to vehicle safety, with 13% aware of their NCAP rating, almost double the national average

  

We believe we’re safe drivers, but less so if we are Welsh or Northern Irish

At an overall level, our survey tells us that we think we are pretty fantastic behind the wheel, with 98% of motorists across the UK considering themselves to be a safe  driver. 

How Safe A Driver Are You?

National Average

Percentage

Very Safe

63%

Quite Safe

35%

Quite Unsafe

2%

Very Unsafe

0%

 

However, delve further into the regional statistics and they highlight a range of differences at a local area level in the UK.

Brimming with confidence are the South West of England and East Anglia drivers, with respectively almost three quarters (73%) and 7 in 10 (71%) of those surveyed in these areas describing themselves as a ‘very safe’ driver.   

However, the opposite can be said for motorists in Wales and Northern Ireland, with only about half (55%) describing themselves as “very safe” in Wales and just under 5 in 10 (48%) in Northern Ireland. 

 

What do the crash statistics say? Where’s the riskiest place to drive in UK?

Overall, British motorists consider themselves very safe when they’re on the road, but the most recent statistics from the Department of Transport, which reveal the number of casualties that occurred on roads in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the whole of 2017, tell a very different story.

Likelihood of Casualty

National Average (DoT Figures)

 

No. of Casualties

180,177

Likelihood of casualty

1 in 388

 

Last year in London alone traffic collisions resulted in 32,547 casualties at a rate of 1 in 270 , the highest in Great Britain. And, it’s only in Northern Ireland that you’re more likely to be a casualty when on the road, with a 1 in 197 chance.

Conversely, Scotland has the safest roads in the UK in terms of casualties from traffic collisions. With a population of 5.3m people, only 9,427 casualties were recorded in 2017. This means the likelihood of being a casualty in Scotland is just 1 in 562. 


[2]No. of casualties is calculated as the sum of 12 regions, divided by 12. Likelihood of casualty is calculated by taking an area’s population and dividing this by the number of casualties in a year.  A casualty is anyone involved in an accident. 

 

Londoners revealed as the most deluded motorists in the UK

Combining these two sets of data gives a unique measure of the UK’s level of delusion regarding different regions’ perception of driving safety, compared to the actual crash statistics:  

safe driving delusion levels

The results are fascinating and provide a clear understanding of who is deluded and who is very clear about the hazards they face on the roads every day:  

Northern Ireland is not in denial…they are quite aware they are not as safe drivers and the casualty statistics match!

The South East and London have a high opinion of their driving but are the most deluded of everyone – they are more likely to believe they are safe, but they are much more liable to be in a crash.

Move to Scotland, the North East or East Midlands! People from these areas are much less likely to have a casualty… and they know this – very sensible people whose confidence is backed up by the low chance of an accident.

And people in Wales need to stop worrying so much! – They don’t believe they are safe drivers but have the 2nd lowest level of casualty in the UK.

 

UK drivers still using mobiles in cars despite ban

In recent years, the government has brought in measures such as banning the use of a mobile phone while driving, but it seems many motorists are continuing to ignore this despite the latest casualty statistics. However, despite the threat of fines, points and even the potential to lose your license – we remain undeterred in our mobile phone addiction. 

Use Phone In Queuing Traffic?

National Average

 

Yes

39%

No

56%

Prefer Not to Say or N/A

5%

 

Our national survey revealed that a staggering 4 in 10 (39%) British motorists are in some way using their phone while on the road. A staggering figure which suggests the more stringent regulation of this has had little impact on our behaviour.

The fast-paced of life in London seems to be having an impact on this region’s motorists, as it is the only place where over half (55%) of drivers admit to mobile phone use behind the wheel. 

The high proportion that are continuing to break the law in the capital city shows a clear relationship with casualties on the road highlighted earlier. Recent data compiled by Think! showed you are four times as likely to be in a crash if you’re using your mobile phone. 

 

 

Bad driving habits are common – and more common in London

Not only are we distracted by our phones, but our habits behind the wheel show that Brits are failing to abide by some of the most basic driving laws. 

Frighteningly, one in 8 have removed both hands from the wheel, almost 4 in 10 have eaten or drank while driving, and a worrying one third have accelerated through yellow lights.

Most common bad driving habits

National Average

 

Removed both hands from wheel

13%

Eaten or drank while driving

37%

Failed to check blind spot

15%

Failed to use indicators

23%

Accelerated through yellow lights

34%

 

With a famously high density of traffic, frequent queuing and congestion, it’s not surprising to see Londoners, on average, again misbehaving more than the national average. Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) admit to accelerating through yellow lights and 1 in 6 (17%) have removed both hands from the wheel.

And why are the Welsh being so modest? Despite the fewest number of respondents in Wales describing themselves as safe drivers, the nation once again showed itself to have an impressive record on the road, consistently falling below the average of the rest of the UK for bad driving habits.

 

Is London’s ignorance of driving laws causing casualties? But knowledge in Wales and the North West shines

Are we ignorant of driving laws? The awareness of laws in some of Britain’s local areas appears haphazard at best.

Our survey of asked respondents if they are aware of five of the most common driving laws that motorists regularly break daily.

Driving Laws Brits Are Aware Of

National Average

% Aware

Flashing headlights to warn other drivers

51%

Driving with a pet not suitably restrained

57%

Driving too far below the speed limit

46%

Rude gesturing at other drivers

29%

Verbally swearing at other drivers

22%

 

The results indicate almost 8 in 10 are not aware that verbally swearing at other drivers is not legal, over 7 in 10 are not aware that rude gesturing is illegal, and furthermore almost half are not aware that flashing headlights and over 4 in 10 are not aware that driving with a pet not suitably restrained are also against the law.

By region, again the statistics differ markedly and highlight how our knowledge is incredibly varied around the UK.

The correlation between awareness of laws and the reality of an accident on the road is laid bare in London. In the area where you have the highest chance of a casualty, knowledge was overall poorer. Less than half of London’s drivers knew about any one of the five laws, consistently below the average for the rest of the UK. Back to driving school for the capital’s drivers? 

Wales’ demonstrates an excellent knowledge of many important driving regulations, also matching their impressively low casualty stats. This shows that despite the fact they believe they aren’t as safe on the roads, conversely their awareness of laws is strong.

The North West of England also show strong knowledge on driving laws, 65% knew to keep their pets properly restrained and over half (56%) knew that driving below the speed limit is against the law. A famously dangerous practise, the North West show they’re on the right side of driving laws.

 

 

UK drivers don’t understand their car’s safety

British motorists show a worrying lack of understanding of how safe their car is with just 7% stating they know their vehicle’s NCAP safety rating.

Awareness of NCAP Safety Rating

National Average

 

I know my vehicle’s NCAP safety rating

7%

I don’t know my vehicles NCAP safety rating

93%

 Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) tests the safety of cars sold within Europe and is regularly featured as part of their main USP if they achieve a high score.

Despite the growing number of safety features in cars and the improving technology available to help keep motorists protected from accident, there’s an obvious lack of understanding in this country on what makes a car safe.

Alongside their higher likelihood of casualty, are Northern Irish drivers making the wrong car choices? None of the drivers in Northern Ireland knew their cars safety rating, suggesting they might not be aware of the cars that might help keep them safe.

Drivers in London claim to have the best knowledge of their vehicle’s EuroNCAP rating and believe they are safe drivers, but as seen earlier are shown as some of the UK’s most unsafe drivers in terms of casualties and their bad driving habits.

However, drivers in Scotland once again showed their proficiency when it comes to vehicle safety, with 13% aware of their NCAP rating, almost double the national average.  This is also consistent with the earlier data highlighting that people from these areas are much less likely to have a casualty.

 

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Select Car Leasing is a trading style of Select Contracts (UK) Limited and the firm is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN 670832. Select Car Leasing are a credit broker not a lender. VAT Registration No 181 8746 74. ICO Registration ZA076253. Company Number 065690988. Select Car Leasing are proud to be a member of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) No 1846.

 


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Select Car Leasing is a trading style of Select Contracts (UK) Limited and the firm is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN 670832. Select Car Leasing are a credit broker and not a lender. VAT Registration No 181 874674. ICO Registration ZA076253. Company Number 06569098. Select Car Leasing are proud to be a member of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), No 1846. Registered address: Atlantic House, Imperial Way, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 0TD

© Copyright 2018 Select Contracts UK Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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