Many of us take pride in our driving skills. However, we have all had near-miss experiences, bumps and scrapes, with some of us involved in full-blown serious accidents.
And then there’s road rage. From gestures and verbal abuse to tailgating and brake checks, most of us have encountered the rage of another driver at some point. And, whisper it, some of us may even be guilty of such transgressions.
The inherent dangers of driving have given rise to a body of law designed to make the roads as safe as possible. But not all of us know the rules and regulations, and how they can determine legally acceptable behavior behind the wheel.
To give us an indication of the current driving conditions faced by UK drivers, and to find out how up-to-date the population is with regard to driving laws in this country, we commissioned a nationally representative survey of 2,000 motorists. from United Kingdom.
The idea was to discover the bad driving habits of the British, such as taking off, hogging the middle lane and texting while driving. We wanted to uncover the impact these habits can have on motorists’ finances, at a time when the cost of living is being felt in all areas of people’s lives.
Our survey said…
Of all the bad driving habits among UK drivers, road rage is alarmingly common, with over half (53%) of motorists admitting feelings of road rage towards another driver**.
In addition, more than a third (36%) of people have retaliated when dealing with road rage, and more than a fifth (21%) felt the need to report incidents of road rage to the police.
The most common bad habits behind the wheel (‘bad’ in the sense that they could be distracting) include ‘eating/drinking while driving’, with 37% of respondents admitting to snacking behind the wheel, followed by ‘excessive speed’ (34%) and ‘play music at full volume’ (31%).
Habits that could lead us to distraction
- Eating/drinking while driving: 37%
- Speeding: 3. 4%
- Play music at full volume: 31%
- not indicating: fifteen%
- Business: fifteen%
- Driving more than 10 mph below the speed limit: 14%
- Of smoking: eleven%
- Using a portable device as a satellite navigator: eleven%
- Mid lane hoarding:10%
- Leaving the indicator on: 9%
- Use a mobile to read/send text messages/WhatsApp: 8%
- Brake check (apply the brakes to affect the vehicle behind): 8%
- Enter (drive to the front of a queue in traffic): 7%
- Leaving full lights on: 7%
- tailgating: 6%
Who are the main culprits?
The survey revealed that men are more likely to speed than women, with 39% of men surveyed admitting to speeding, compared to 29% of women.
In another comparison between men and women, nearly three quarters (70%) of men have reacted to road rage by retaliating or reporting incidents to the police, compared to 40% of women surveyed. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of female drivers said they ignored the other driver or stopped or rerouted to avoid them, while just over two-thirds (68%) of male drivers selected this option.
Additionally, more than half of women admit to yelling swear words (54%) or using their horn aggressively (52%) when experiencing feelings of anger behind the wheel, compared to 55% and 49% of men surveyed, respectively.
Just an annoyance or something else?
While many of these habits are not strictly ‘illegal’, they can be considered a ‘driving without due care and attention’ (CD10) offense. This means that, although it is not illegal to smoke while driving, if a police officer decides that he contributed to a dangerous situation, he could be charged with a CD10.
This offense carries a minimum penalty of three penalty points and a £100 fine, and a maximum penalty of nine penalty points and a £5,000 fine.
In extreme cases, these habits can be categorized as dangerous driving, resulting in driving bans, fines, and even jail time.
Speeding offenses carry a minimum penalty of three penalty points and a £100 fine, although drivers may be sent on a speeding awareness course if the police decide it is appropriate and offenders have not attended to a course in the last three years.
Depending on the severity of the offence, drivers can be disqualified from driving and face fines of up to £2,500 or up to a week’s wages.
Insurance: what is the cost?
We also look at how these crimes affect auto insurance premiums. Neither habit would invalidate a driver’s insurance as a first offense, but extreme cases could result in the driver’s license being suspended, which would invalidate his insurance policy.
And if you have points on your license, which you’re required to report when you apply for insurance, you could face higher premiums.
Drivers struck with a CD10 can see policy prices increase by nearly a third (31.5%), while drivers who receive a CU80 violation on their license can expect policy prices to increase by more than a third (36.5%).
For drivers who incur an SP30 speeding charge, premium prices can increase by more than a quarter (27.6%).
Impact on premiums
To help UK drivers understand how different offenses can affect the cost of driving, we’ve created a grid highlighting changes in insurance premiums for people affected by SP30, CU80 and CD10* offences:
Kevin Pratt, Forbes Advisor auto insurance expert, said: “The psychology of driving is fascinating. For example, I know that I am the best driver on the road and assume that everyone else is a danger to life, limb, and common decency unless convinced otherwise. And you can be sure that almost everyone else thinks the same way behind the wheel.
“But self-delusion aside, it’s important to remember that every car on the road is a ton or so of fast-moving metal and should be handled with great caution and consideration. If drivers compromise their ability to control their vehicle by falling victim to distractions or letting their emotions take over, the results can be disastrous.
“Cars are ubiquitous, but we shouldn’t take them for granted. Every ride deserves 100% focus and attention because lives are literally at stake.”
* When calculating insurance premiums, the Forbes Advisor team tracked prices for purchased policies using the following parameters: 38-year-old married male, employed, no claims, 20+ years of license and NCB, using car for business social and commuting, full compensation cover, 13k miles per year, Audi A3 2.0 TDI, reg 2011, live in Cardiff.
Data from the Forbes Advisor Auto Insurance Pricing Tool indicates that premium prices can increase by 32%, on average, on the 10 cheapest policies when CD10, CU80 or SP30 are violated .
Forbes Advisor commissioned a study of 2,000 UK drivers, delivered through OnePoll.
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