While more than two-thirds (69%) of drivers consciously worry about being killed when driving, only 1% believe they perform worse than average when it comes to driving safely.
Conversely, 98% think they are safer than, or as safe as the average driver.
The 800 drivers questioned made it clear that it’s the risks other drivers take, that makes them worry for their lives when on the road:
- Only one in a hundred drivers believe that the roads are full of safe drivers.
- One in three (35%) think there are more dangerous drivers than safe drivers on the road.
- Nearly a third (31%) said they feel safer when driving a car compared to other modes of transport, while only 5% said being a passenger in a car made them feel the safest.
- Three in ten (31%) said they feel least safe travelling as a passenger in a car, compared to any other mode of transport, while only 7% said they felt least safe while driving.
The research suggests that many drivers overestimate their driving ability, whilst blaming other drivers’ risky driving for crashes on the roads. In reality, a high proportion of drivers continue to regularly take risks such as speeding, drink driving or driving tired.
Julie Townsend, campaigns director of Brake, said: “Being over-confident, and believing you can get away with risk-taking, is a really dangerous attitude behind the wheel. If you drive, you have a responsibility to yourself and others to stay within the law. Follow the Highway Code, and do everything you can to be safe. That’s why we’re calling on drivers to make our ‘Pledge to Drive Safely’. It’s time everyone took it upon themselves to play their part in making our roads safer, instead of just pointing the finger at others.”
Andy Goldby, director of Motor Underwriting at Direct Line, said: “The vast majority of drivers seem to worry about how other people are driving, instead of evaluating their own driving skills. In previous research we have discovered that large numbers of drivers admit to speeding, drink driving and driving whilst tired, demonstrating that many drivers either don’t see these as important, or need to seriously re-examine their attitude to safe driving. In almost all collisions at least one of the drivers made a mistake, so the 98 per cent that think they are safer than, or as safe as the average driver, need to think about this question again.“
Brake and Direct Line are calling on drivers to take a reality check and have a hard look at their own driving behaviour instead of just blaming others. Drivers are urged to make Brake’s ‘Pledge to Drive Safely’ to show they take their responsibility behind the wheel seriously.
Brake is also calling on the Government to encourage drivers to take greater responsibility behind the wheel by stepping up educational campaigns that highlight the consequences of driver risk taking. This needs to be backed up by a credible deterrent, with more widespread roads policing and increased fines for drivers who break the law.