Are We a Nation of Bad Drivers?

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Recent research from Sainsbury’s Finance has revealed that around two thirds (64%) of all British drivers have admitted to driving in a potentially dangerous way in the last month. It’s quite a shocking statistic. More shocking still as the research goes on to reveal the specifics of our bad habits.

The research, which came out this month, reveals that eating and drinking at the wheel is our most prevalent bad habit, followed closely by driving when feeling tired. 6% of motorists admitted to texting while driving. 6% admitted to driving after drinking alcohol. 8% said they’ve driven without a seat belt.

1-in-9 motorists admit to using a mobile phone while driving, while the number of motorists driving in flip flops is up 4% on last year. This summer, 8% of motorists also claimed they had driven whilst reading a map.

Apparently, our bad driving isn’t limited to home soil. Almost 6.5 million British adults (14%) are planning to take their cars abroad over the next 12 months, according to new research by Sainsbury’s.  Millions will, often unknowingly, break driving laws whilst in a foreign country.

For example, it’s compulsory to carry a warning triangle in your vehicle whilst driving in France, Spain or the Netherlands – but 1-in-3 British motorists will not carry one while abroad. Radar detectors are also illegal in several European countries – but 1-in-20 British drivers will still use one to detect speed traps.

30% of motorists will not carry proof of ownership in their car, although this is a legal requirement in several parts of Europe.

It’s sounds as though we’re all very naughty rule-breakers, but often motorists are simply not aware of the country’s requirements. If you’re planning to drive abroad, make sure you familiarise yourself with all the road rules of that country before you set-off.  The AA has a good tool to check the driving requirements by country.

If you’re taking a trip abroad and plan to drive, make sure you inform your car insurance provider of your travel plans. It’s important to check you are fully covered once you leave the UK. Some comprehensive car insurance policies may reduce to third party cover if you do not notify the insurer, so it’s best to update them.

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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.