Now’s the time to kick the habit
A recent survey revealed tailgating, the practice of driving too close to the vehicle in front, as the UK’s most loathed driving habit. Amongst the 1,000 people surveyed, tailgating finished ahead of not indicating, leaving full-beam headlights on at night, and cutting in. Interestingly, middle-lane hogging and drivers who refuse to let a vehicle pull out were further down the bad-habit list.
While these practices are undoubtedly frustrating, each also poses a threat to road safety. Tailgating itself brings obvious risks – if a driver leaves insufficient space behind the car in front, they may not be able to stop in time if the vehicle ahead brakes. Most injury claims arising from accidents occur this way, although thankfully many of these injuries are minor.
Failure to dip full-beam headlights can temporarily blind on-coming drivers and, if that coincides with the blinded driver braking or negotiating a bend, catastrophic consequences can ensue.
Some drivers’ annoying bad habits – such as failing to indicate or hogging a middle motorway lane – might not in themselves seem dangerous, but who amongst us has not witnessed a hot-headed driver under-taking a middle-lane hogger? Nipping down the inside lane to pass a slower vehicle in the central lane can endanger all nearby road users.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, older drivers were considered to be the most responsible group of drivers. Some 85 per cent of drivers aged 18-34 confessed to committing at least one of the top ten indiscretions – this figure dropped to 79 per cent among drivers between the ages of 35 and 54 and was lower still, at 68 per cent, amongst drivers older than 55 years of age.
More worrying was the statistic relating to road rage, with 70 per cent of UK drivers recording that they experienced road rage at least once a week – an alarming 23 per cent said they were affected by road rage three or more times a week.
It is difficult to identify the causes of such poor driving behaviour – perhaps busier roads and faster cars alongside the ever-increasing pace and pressures of modern life are to blame. But one thing is clear – it is far better to reach your destination two minutes late than not to reach it all.
Paul Lewis, author of Dangerous bad driving ruins lives, is a Partner at George Ide LLP in Chichester and MASS Regional Co-ordinator for South Central
This blog has previously appeared on George Ide LLP’s website.
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