Mike Waters' blog: 30 November 2011 - Mischievous motorists
30 November 2011
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.
There are people out there who are perfectly nice, considerate and polite in their daily lives, but stick them behind the wheel of a car and their entire persona changes? Evidence shows that for some drivers, manners are something that they leave at the roadside.
I can only speculate as to the reason for this. It could be that the combination of congestion, roadworks and people leading busy lives just makes driving a stressful exercise that brings out the worst in some of us. Or maybe these people always had an inconsiderate streak, it's just that when they are surrounded by a metal shell, they feel confident enough to show it. But regardless of the reason, it doesn't make driving any more pleasant for the rest of us.
Recent research shows that one in seven Britons admits to experiencing road rage and a quarter of the UK population has suffered an assault or threat from an angry motorist. The issue of road rage is so widespread that Confused.com has launched a mapping tool to highlight the most dangerous roads and junctions in the UK based on cases of road rage reported through social media.
And angry motorists aren't the only hazard to watch out for, if you drive for long enough you will see examples of inconsiderate or illegal driving. Don't get me wrong, it's a minority at fault but at the same time it's not uncommon to see other motorists chatting on their mobile while driving, cutting others up, parking illegally, refusing to give way - there are a broad range of misdemeanours.
Plus it's not exclusive to drivers, pedestrians are sometimes on the wrong end too. I read an article that said in bad weather as many as 16% of drivers had intentionally splashed a pedestrian by driving through large puddles close to them.
It strikes me that for many people this is out of character. They don't normally behave like this, it's just that driving can bring out the worst in them. While some feel like they have a license to behave as they wish its worth remembering that drivers can be prosecuted under the 1988 Road Traffic Act for selfish or aggressive behaviour on the road.
The same rules should apply in and out of the car. If you wouldn't act like this in daily life, try not to adopt a Jekyll and Hyde tendency on the road.