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‘Not indicating clearly’ voted as the most inconsiderate driving behaviour

Press release   •   Feb 10, 2017 09:22 GMT

Not indicating clearly has been named as the most inconsiderate driving behaviour on UK roads, according to an RAC Insurance poll of more than 2,100 motorists*.

Nearly six in 10 (58%) of drivers surveyed said not signalling clearly, or failing to indicate at all, was their top inconsiderate action at the wheel, ahead of hogging the middle lane of a motorway (56%) and driving too close to the car in front, which was voted for by more than half (51%).

The next most popular answers in the top five driving behaviours that cause other motorists the greatest angst were: getting angry with other drivers (46%) and selfish parking (45%).

Almost all drivers surveyed described themselves as being a courteous and considerate driver – only 1% didn’t – but they believe that poor driving is an all-too-common sight on the nation’s roads with only 4% saying they were unlikely to see any thoughtless behaviour on a typical half-hour drive.

While every driver polled by RAC Insurance thought it was important to show consideration for other road users nearly half (46%) didn’t know that ‘being considerate’ is actually mentioned in the Highway Code.

On learning that the Highway Code states: ‘Be considerate. Be careful of and considerate towards all types of road users, especially those requiring extra care’, nearly two-thirds (64%) said in that case ‘most drivers need to re-read it’.

Rank Which do you think are the most inconsiderate driving behaviours? Percentage
1 Not indicating clearly 58%
2 Hogging the middle lane on a motorway 56%
3 Not leaving plenty of distance behind the car in front 51%
4 Getting angry with other motorists 46%
5 Selfish parking - not parking between lines 45%
6 Not saying thank you to other drivers for letting them out of a junction / giving way to them 43%
7 Not slowing down when passing horses 34%
8 Not adhering to speed limits 30%
9 Not giving cyclists plenty of space 29%
10 Using the horn in anger 27%

Interestingly though, when motorists were asked to say what makes a courteous and considerate driver the greatest proportion – seven in 10 (69%) – cited ‘always saying thank you to drivers that let them out of a junction giving way to them’. Six in 10 (59%) felt it was slowing down when passing horses and half (49%) said giving cyclists plenty of space. Indicating clearly was the fourth most popular response (48%), but quite a long way ahead of ‘leave plenty of distance behind the car in front’ which was named by 40% of respondents.

RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said: “There are a variety of behaviours at the wheel that motorists class as being inconsiderate, most of which involve deliberate acts which are blatantly thoughtless, but the top answer of ‘not indicating clearly’ is probably more due to misunderstanding or forgetfulness.

“The confusion that it can cause is no doubt responsible for, at worst: accidents and at best: needless wasted seconds of waiting only to find out the driver wasn’t really going where you thought they were. The biggest example of ‘indicator confusion’ has to be at roundabouts. There seem to be different schools of thought on how to signal at roundabout and very few that follow the rules set out in Rule 186 of the Highway Code. If more of us were to follow the indicating rules there would probably be fewer bumps at roundabouts.”

What the Highway Code says

Rule 186 – Roundabouts

Signals and position.

When taking the first exit to the left, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise signal left and approach in the left-hand lane

  • keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signalling left to leave.

When taking an exit to the right or going full circle, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise

  • signal right and approach in the right-hand lane
  • keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout
  • signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

When taking any intermediate exit, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise

  • select the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout
  • you should not normally need to signal on approach
  • stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout
  • signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.

When there are more than three lanes at the entrance to a roundabout, use the most appropriate lane on approach and through it.

Rule 188 – Mini-roundabouts

Approach these in the same way as normal roundabouts. All vehicles MUST pass round the central markings except large vehicles which are physically incapable of doing so. Remember, there is less space to manoeuvre and less time to signal. Avoid making U-turns at mini-roundabouts. Beware of others doing this.

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