Latest News

02 Sep 2010

Road Rage makes us worse driver

Results from an IAM poll have found that most drivers regularly suffer some form of road rage, and nearly a third admit that anger with other road users makes their own driving worse.

Of the 1,400 respondents to the online poll, 70 per cent stated that they got angry with other road users and 28 per cent felt that getting heated behind the wheel affected their own driving competence.

Tailgating was the behaviour most irritating to drivers, with 28 per cent classing it as the most provocative, while 22 per cent felt that others taking a call while driving was the biggest irritation. Centre lane hogging was also mentioned by 15 per cent and drivers also reported a long list of other irritants including aggressive driving, failing to indicate and bad lane discipline.

IAM director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: "It is good to see motorists disapproving of bad driving, especially mobile phone use which is on the rise, but it's worrying that so many still get angry when driving. With long commutes and increased congestion making driving particularly stressful, drivers must learn to manage the 'red mist'."

Worryingly, many drivers are ignorant of the law, with the poll finding that 33 per cent of drivers would read or send a text message while waiting in a queue of traffic. Almost 30 per cent would instigate or pick up a phone call, even though research suggests that this is just as distracting as using a hand held phone.

Over a third of drivers found passengers most distracting with more than 60 per cent saying they would be more likely to be distracted with passengers in the car.

The IAM survey revealed that the top distractions were:

  • Passengers (30 per cent)
  • Billboards and other advertising (24 per cent)
  • Watching out for safety cameras (21 per cent)
  • Mobile phones (13 per cent)
  • In Car Entertainment (Five per cent)
  • Sat navs (Four per cent)

Mr Greig added: "It's all about self control - good drivers spot the signs of potential road rage and do everything they can to steer clear of it. If you feel yourself getting provoked by other people driving badly, remember that rising above it is an act of safe driving.

If you feel you're reaching boiling point:

  • Pull over and separate yourself from the cause of your anger - usually another driver.
  • Never react with a gesture or use your car as a weapon of retaliation.

If you are the subject of road rage:

  • Pull over to a safe, public place if you feel threatened
  • Apologise for your own mistakes - a cheery wave does a lot to diffuse tension