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Are we a nation of good motorists? Our study examines driving behaviours across the country  

Is your driving etiquette up to scratch? We asked the British public a series of questions to find out whether they knew the rules of the road and observed good driving etiquette. Our survey helped us to get to the bottom of whether age, gender and location really make a difference when it comes to driving habits.

Are younger drivers more reckless? Does a certain city affect your stress levels? And how do the sexes fare?

All is revealed in the article below, but before we get started, here’s a word to the wise. There’s nothing more ill-mannered than driving a car that’s no longer roadworthy, or hasn’t passed its MOT test. Ensure your vehicle is fit for the road when you book an MOT with us today. 

Driving etiquette: does age matter? 

Is it true that with age comes wisdom and experience? Or are young drivers more skilful? Well, we had an age range of 18-65 in our sights, and the results were interesting. 

  • Is splashing a pedestrian punishable by law? Ding, ding – it is, and it’s an offence that could land you a £5,000 fine. Older drivers between the ages of 45-65+ mostly got this one right. But nearly half of motorists aged 18-44 think splashing a pedestrian is acceptable!  
  • One point to the older generation then, though it’s younger drivers between 18–44 who know not to use their horn between 11.30pm and 7am on restricted roads. They’re aware that doing so on roads with streetlights at a 30mph limit is considered antisocial.
  • When it comes to legally flashing car lights, most 45-65+ know it’s only acceptable when warning another driver who may not have seen you. The 18-35 category fall behind, with 30 percent thinking flashing lights means "Safely asking another driver to move out of the way.”
  • The 18-35 age group redeem themselves however, by correctly answering that it’s right to wait until the lane is about to end in the event of a lane closure. This, in contrast to 79% of the survey group who merge into the next lane straight away.
  • Do you get stressed while driving? Well it may just be an age thing, with a whopping 70 percent of 18-34s admitting they feel anxious behind the wheel. You’ll be pleased to know this seems to ease the older we get, with only 25 percent of over-65s saying the same. 

Overall, 55-64s answered the most questions correctly while 18-34s made the most mistakes

Driving etiquette: does age matter chart
Driving etiquette: does age matter chart

Regions and cities

Does location really have an impact on how we drive? We’re about to find out. 

  • We asked the UK how far they drive on average (pre-lockdown) and Northern Ireland takes the crown, with an impressive 161 miles per person per week. In last place is the South West – with 62 miles per person per week.
  • According to our survey results, if you’re navigating busy roads in a big city, your stress levels are likely higher. The drivers most on edge are from Greater London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Edinburgh. The most relaxed drivers come from Aberdeen, Belfast, Liverpool and Cardiff. 
  • Stopping at zebra crossings for pedestrians to cross is mandatory. But do we all do it? The drivers of Greater London seem to be the most impatient, with 31 percent saying they don’t stop. Other drivers in a hurry are from West Midlands and Yorkshire. The motorists with the most patience are from East Anglia, Wales and Scotland, who say they always stop.
  • When the UK receives a snow dump, are motorists prepared for the driving conditions? The law states that your car roof and windows need to be free of snow. Those from the South West achieved the lowest score, with 66% answering incorrectly. Northern Ireland on the other hand are the most prepared for a snowfall, with 94% knowing exactly what to clear before driving.

If our results make one thing loud and clear, it’s that the more relaxed you are, the better you drive. Londoners are the most stressed and the least likely to stop at zebra crossings, while Belfast locals are relaxed and understand the rules of the road. 

Driving etiquette: Regions and cities image
Driving etiquette: Regions and cities image

Gender: male vs female

The big question we’re all asking... Are men or women better on the roads?

  • When it comes to questioning if splashing a pedestrian punishable by law 53% of males knew this was true, compared with only 43% of females. Having said that, 5% of males said it was ‘the right thing to do’!
  • 10% more females answered correctly when asked about the rules before driving in snow with 69% saying you must clear your windows and roof before setting off.

Overall, the results saw women performing better than men – with the majority of females answering 4/6 questions on driving etiquette correctly. 

Driving etiquette: male vs female image
Driving etiquette: male vs female image

The Results 

The worst drivers are 18-34-year-old males from London, who feel most stressed behind the wheel, intersect lanes at the last minute and need to brush up on their road knowledge. 

The drivers who performed best are in the 40+ category from Belfast. They are polite on the roads and remain focused despite sometimes feeling stressed. This demographic is confident in their driving theory knowledge and always stops at zebra crossings.