UK Drivers See Other Drivers As The Problem, Not Themselves

A recent study by Forbes Advisor, the price comparison and financial guidance platform, asking British drivers how safe they feel on the road provides new insight on what motorists consider the greatest threat to their safety on the road. It’s interesting for insurance brands to see how different perceived rsk is from actual risk. Most collisions occur in built up areas, often early morning or in the evening rush hours. Motorways are statistically much safer than any other road, yet people feel nervous driving at speed. Especially in wet weather.

Seeing all other drivers as an inherent risk says more about human nature than reality. Most humans are genetically suspicious of strangers, that’s how we evolved as tribes over the last million years or so. But the true risk is that a tiny minority of drivers, often driving untaxed and uninsured cars, are the biggest risk in terms of collision and the subsequent fleeing from the scene.

Unsurprisingly, most drivers see themselves as being above average in terms of skill. The reality is most of us lack the finesse, smoothness, sharp observation levels and rapid reaction times of professional racing drivers. Most collisions involve faults or partial blame by both drivers. It’s hard to accept personal responsibility however, so most people blame others – again, human nature.

The high percentage who blame the state of UK roads as a big risk are of course correct. This deliberate policy of neglect will cost the lives of cyclists and motorcylists in 2023 and beyond. Politicians must stop using climate change as an excuse to not repair and maintain the roads. Seeing pedestrians and cyclists as a risk is another perception where reality doesn’t match the reality. Most pedestrians will not attack you, most cyclists are no threat to your safety, these are the facts even if you detect a “divide and rule” confrontational narrative across the media.

Here’s the word from Forbes;

Over a quarter (27%) of UK drivers say they do not feel safe on the road. While most claim to either be an average driver or an above average driver, over one in 10 (13%) of those who said they felt unsafe consider themselves to be a below average driver, versus only 4% of those who say they do feel safe.What’s more, six in 10 (61%) reported they had been in at least one traffic collision or accident since they started driving but just over a quarter (26%) say it was their fault.

The survey found drivers list lack of road maintenance (52%), as well as cyclists and pedestrians (33%) among their main reasons for feeling unsafe while driving. Other principal reasons for feeling unsafe include other drivers (60%) and weather conditions (43%).

Source: Forbes Advisor

While a quarter of drivers who have been in a traffic accident considered their own driving to be at fault, fewer than one in 10 (6%) of drivers consider their driving to be unsafe. Interestingly, while nearly four in 10 (39%) drivers over 55 believe there isn’t sufficient punishment for dangerous driving, this age group were most likely (24%) to say that they do not know enough about current traffic laws.

Despite hatchbacks (41%) being the most common car type, the research shows that SUV and sport car or convertible drivers are cited most often for their dangerous driving, being identified by almost a quarter (23%) of respondents. When it comes to dangerous behaviour on the road, over a third (34%) of drivers believe that traffic laws do not adequately punish those who drive dangerously.

IE Note: Although the law has tightened up on using smartphones while driving, this is still common practice and the low conviction rate means many drivers risk it. Arguably, a loss of attention on the road ahead and changing traffic conditions, is the biggest single factor in the causation of accidents. Poor attention and observation reduces the crucial 2-5 seconds that drivers have to react to sudden braking, vehicles emerging, severe potholes, cyclists, or other vehicles overtaking and approaching head-on, at speed. The invention of the smartphone has only made that poor attention span problem even worse by providing a constant chorus of pings, beeps, chimes and alerts as drivers proceed on their journeys.

Kevin Pratt, car insurance expert at Forbes Advisor said: “Accidents happen – but when they happen on the roads, they can cause injury and death, so anything we can learn about how to reduce them is welcome. And understanding why drivers feel at risk is a key part of changing driver behaviour to make the roads safer for everyone.

“Our survey hits on the fascinating aspect of driver psychology: most people think they are average or above average drivers, and most people blame other drivers for dangerous driving conditions. There is definitely a disconnect between how good we think we are, and how good we actually are.

“Over 90% of road traffic accidents are caused by human error*. That’s why car insurance companies talk about ‘at fault’ and ‘no fault’ claims. As cars acquire more safety features such as autonomous emergency braking and lane drift management, we should hopefully see the numbers reduce. But, sadly, it seems unlikely they will be eliminated completely, even when driving is fully automated, so it looks like we’ll always need insurance protection.”

About alastair walker 11354 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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