A survey of Irish motorists carried out by tyre manufacturer, Continental, shows that other drivers’ use of a (hand-held) mobile phone while behind the wheel is the single most annoying bad habit on the road. 68.4 per cent of drivers highlighted this as their biggest bugbear when it comes to bad habits of other drivers.
The other most annoying habits that irked respondents included: overtaking illegally or dangerously (47.7 per cent); driving too slowly (44.1 per cent); not indicating or generally bad lane use (43.2 per cent); and breaking the speed limit (40.0 per cent)
More than half of drivers (51 per cent) said that looking down at a mobile phone while texting or using apps or the internet was more dangerous than making a call with the handset held to the ear.
The research for Continental Tyres was commissioned to address how road safety can be improved and accidents reduced as part of the company’s long term commitment to ‘Vision Zero’. This is Continental’s aim of reducing accidents through its innovative tyre technologies and automotive systems so that we achieve a situation where there are zero accidents and zero fatalities on the road.
Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland said: “Driving is a complex task that requires our full attention and concentration – when the bad habits of other drivers distract us from that task that can have serious implications for road safety.”
In an effort to tackle the problem of drivers’ bad habits, respondents called for more education of drivers (40.9 per cent) and/or more Garda enforcement of the laws governing driving (34.2 per cent).
However, showing a certain amount of double standards, some 45 per cent of the same respondents admitted to regularly breaking the speed limit and nearly 40 per cent (37.8) said that they regularly use a hand-held mobile phone while behind the wheel.
It is clear that annoying bad habits are a common feature of driving today in Ireland, more than two thirds of drivers (68 per cent) say they are confronted with annoying bad habits of other drivers every time or most times that they get behind the wheel.
And it seems that other drivers’ bad habits are a key cause of road rage as nearly one in two motorists (48 per cent) said that they react to other drivers’ bad habits aggressively by either hitting the horn or shouting/using a hand gesture. Nearly one in five (18 per cent) say that seeing other drivers’ bad habits make them drive more aggressively, either faster, to overtake the offending driver, or deliberately slowing down ahead of the offender to show their frustration.
“Hearing the reactions of some motorists to other drivers’ bad habits which can range from getting into heated exchanges, to causing some drivers to drive dangerously, is very worrying. Our advice to motorists is to concentrate on what is going on in your own car – that is all that you have control over, and if another driver’s behaviour really irritates you, in the words of the song, ‘let it go’ – it is not worth risking the safety of yourself, your passengers and other road-users by over-reacting.”