Fleet News

UK driver survey reveals top motorway dangers

A survey carried out by GEM Motoring Assist today revealed that UK motorists believe tailgating is the most serious offence committed on a motorway with 85% saying it causes highly dangerous situations.

Driving whilst using your mobile phone came in a close second with 66% agreeing it would put lives at serious risk and nearly two thirds believe that driving in the middle lane when the left hand lane is empty is dangerous and should be more strictly enforced.
20% of those surveyed said that speeding should be more closely monitored and over half of drivers surveyed went as far as to say that the national speed limit should actually be increased.

This is not the result GEM wanted to hear, as it, and other road safety organisations are strongly against the government campaign to raise the motorway speed limit to 80 MPH by this summer.

Learners are a sticking point for experienced motorists as over half of those surveyed would never want L drivers to be allowed to practice on motorways before their test, with 83% saying there should be a mandatory follow up test created to test motorway driving skills.

Top 10 Motorway Dangers

  1. Tailgating
  2. Driving whilst using a mobile phone
  3. Driving in the middle lane when the left hand lane is empty
  4. Changing lanes without adequate observations or signals
  5. Driving on the hard shoulder to avoid traffic
  6. Entering a motorway from a slip road without adequate observations or signals
  7. Driving too slowly
  8. Speeding
  9. Use of the outside lane by LGV’s
  10. Stopping on the hard shoulder when there is no emergency

The GEM poll also revealed that nearly 70% of those taking to the motorway don’t take extra precautions before making their journey, such as checking tyre pressure and water and despite the problems that can arise from breaking down on the motorway, 83% of drivers do not feel more vulnerable.

David Williams, MBE, ceo of GEM Motoring Assist comments, “Drivers need to make sure they are taking every precaution if they are planning to use a motorway and be fully aware of the dangers.

We believe that bad motorway driving such as tailgating and driving in the middle lane when the left hand lane is empty should definitely be more strictly enforced as it is this kind of careless driving that can lead to frustration, annoyance and possible accidents. It is shocking that a large number of motorists are in favour of raising the motorway speed limit as research shows that this would considerably increase the number of casualties, levels of carbon emissions and fuel consumption. Safety is our top priority for UK drivers and we hope by warning the public of these dangers we can help raise awareness and in turn make roads a safer place’’.

The survey also showed that 73% of motorists would like to see more approved rest areas on motorways.

David Williams continues, “Many people are unaware the Highway Code states that drivers must take a 15 minute break for every 2 hours of continuous driving. Taking a good amount of breaks whilst driving is one of the most important parts of a journey. The more tired you become the less able you are to concentrate and less likely to react quickly to certain situations.”

Fleet News clarification: The comment regarding the Highway Code was a direct quote from David Williams provided to us by GEM Motoring Assist. While the Highway Code might state that drivers should take breaks every two hours rather than 'must' we support the sentiment, and it is not Fleet News policy to modify quotes given to us, or put words in people's mouths.

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment


  • Huntsman - 30/03/2011 09:37

    Interesting list that will come as no surprise to anybody who works with drivers on a daily basis. we would do well to listen to these concerns. BTW, the Highway Code doesn't say you must take a break every two hours - it's a recommendation rather than a rule.

  • chizzy - 30/03/2011 12:25

    Why it should be so "shocking" to Mr.Williams that the majority of drivers favour an increased speed limit I am cannot imagine. It seems strange that when it comes to some of the other points the respondents made, they are presented as being quite sensible and reasonable individuals. What the result of this survey is saying to me is 'Treat us a grown-ups who are able to make up our own minds, but please also police the roads properly instead of being so lazy by just concentrating on speed alone'. Of course, being allowed to use our own judgement means less of a reason for nannying organisations such as GEM to even exist in the first place.

  • timhepple4588 - 30/03/2011 13:56

    On the subject of cars hogging the middle lane of a three lane daul carriagway, I find it particuallary anoying because I tow a small trailer and as such I am not allowed in the 3rd lane to overtake, or of course the left lane, my stategy to dealing with this is, either to wait until the next major junction where the left lane turns into the off filter lane leaving two lanes, then I can legitematley overtake right on the bridge or underpass before coming out the other side to three lanes again. An alternative is to follow behind the offender in the left lane, and set your cruise control, when there is a down hill slope the offender useally speeds up unwittingtly with gravity on their side, then at the next up hill they slow down and you on a fixed speed creep pass them on the inside, It might be difficult to persuade the police but I consider that if the offender slows its not resonable for me to have to do the same. Tim

  • Bianca Castafiore - 30/03/2011 15:37

    Valid comments from Chizzy and Huntsman, which have saved my time in typing similar words. Although I am in favour of the rise of the speed limit to 80mph, surely that will mean that most cars will now travel at 90mph! Middle lane hoggers should face an automatic ban, as should mobile phone users. Don't forget that we also need a fourth lane for BMW/Audi drivers,plus they should be given free replacement bulbs to allow them to finally start using indicators to signal their intentions.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee