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June 21, 2012

Aggressive motorists driving people mad


One in two motorists no longer enjoy driving – with the threat of road rage among the reasons why, according to new research from Continental Tyres. The worry was revealed in a study carried out among 2,000 drivers, which also revealed around 15 per cent – or five million motorists – have got out of their car to confront another driver.

Continental Tyres produced the report to support its ‘Courtesy Campaign’ to encourage motorists to employ more courteous driving methods.


The study highlighted the need for awareness as it found that one in three road users ‘expect’ to experience aggressive or intimidating driving whilst out in the car.

Tim Bailey, safety expert for Continental Tyres said: “The figures are shocking. Of paramount importance is road safety but if motorists feel intimidated or angry they will lack concentration increasing the danger for other road users, never mind not enjoying the driving experience.”

“We are launching a ‘Courtesy Campaign’ to help reduce the problem, not only to improve safety and the driving experience but also because showing consideration to others on the roads actually eases congestion and reduces delays.”

The study also found seven out of ten drivers believe they are more aggressive behind the wheel than at any other time.

It also emerged that when on the receiving end of road rage 40 per cent feel angry, 28 per cent feel shaken and nearly one in four (22 per cent) feel like retaliating.

Dr Mark Sullman, expert in driver behaviour at Cranfield University said: “When driving, we are prevented from using the normal cues to work out people's intentions, such as facial expression and body language, so we are more likely to misunderstand their behaviour and interpret it in a negative way.

“For instance if you bump into someone on foot, a quick smile or ‘oops’ is all that is needed to show it was accidental. However, when in the car, with the absence of cues, people are much more likely to react in an aggressive manner than in other ‘public’ situations.”

Dr Sullman advises: “You can choose not to let it rile you and instead deal with the situation in a positive way, such as concentrating on driving safely yourself or realising that everyone makes mistakes.”

Whilst we might point to others for falling standards the study also identified Brits grudgingly accept their own failings.

More than four in ten (41 per cent) admitted they can be an angry driver while 15 per cent even own up to getting out of their car to confront another road user.

Tim Bailey added: “Avoiding the stop-start of harsh braking and acceleration associated with aggressive driving saves energy and improves the flow of traffic, reducing journey times which in turn should make motorists happier.”

Getting a blast of the horn from another driver is the most common form of aggression, followed by being ‘tailgated’ and having someone brake hard in front of you.

The next most common forms of road rage triggers are being undertaken, being flashed to get you out of the way, and offensive hand gestures.

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