Driver prejudices cause road safety concerns

Over 16 million UK motorists judge other drivers based on the colour, type, and cleanliness of their car and even let it affect how they drive according to a new study released today.Some 45 per cent of respondents allow their own prejudices to affect how courteous or aggressively they act towards other road users – with something as simple as a bumper sticker prompting millions to see red.

In a survey of 2,000 drivers, more than a third admit they allow their assumptions to affect them behind the wheel, meaning they are intentionally more or less reckless as a result.

The research for Continental Tyres also revealed that we are twice as likely to not let someone out at a junction if they are in a flash car because ‘they think they’re it’. Yet, the biggest reason why drivers will not let someone pull out is if they can see the other person at the wheel using their mobile phone.

Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland said: “Although this survey was carried out by my colleagues in the UK as part of our commitment to making driving safer, I think the survey results would be similar here in Ireland.  The finding that motorists may adopt a more aggressive driving style based on the appearance or make and model of another motorist’s car is certainly shocking”.

It was also revealed was that six in ten get agitated by a sticker for a rival sports team or in support of a cause or organisation.

In the survey, it seems that motorists are not bothered about the prejudices made about their car. Over half expect to be stereotyped – though only one in seven admit it affects their choice of car.

Occasionally it can count in our favour as the survey found that 27 per cent of people make an effort to be courteous to people in the same make and model of car as them.

Opinions are divided on hybrid and electric vehicles with one in three believing owners are right to consider the environment and an equal number describing them as ‘tree-huggers’ or ‘self-righteous’.

Mr. Dennigan added: “We would advise that road users should be courteous to all other road users at all times and rather than focussing on the aesthetic and other non-risk affecting features, the importance should be placed on factors like driving behaviour, car safety and tyre condition – as these are the things that really impact on safety”.

The top ten of drivers we are least likely to let out at a junction are:

1.     Anyone using a mobile phone              6. Taxi driver
2.     Performance car                                    7. Learner driver
3.     Towing a caravan                                  8. Bus
4.     Flash car                                                9. Van
5.     4×4                                                      10. Pensioner

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Road Safety, Continental, Mobile Phone