The motorway and side road network across the UK can cause anger and road rage, as most British motorists will know. Whatever the cause may be, most drivers have either encountered or witnessed road rage at some point whilst travelling the isles, but just how prevalent is the road rage pandemic in the UK?
Heydiscount.co.uk conducted a nationwide survey to discover everything there is to know about road rage amongst motorists; from British drivers themselves!
From analysing this data we can identify where in the country has the biggest issue with road rage, the types of people more susceptible to road rage, and how road rage could land you in hot water with the authorities!
Out of all motorists studied to represent the British public, 70% admitted to having experienced road rage during their motoring life, with around 30% claiming to have never experienced road rage.
There is little difference between the number of women and men who said they experience road rage, but men are slightly more likely to lose their temper at the wheel than their female counterparts. Of all the men polled, 71% had experienced road rage, just 3% more than the female total, while 68% of females asked said they had also experienced road rage.
The participants were also asked whether they found their feelings of road rage were amplified when it was a member of the opposite sex causing it.
The results showed a conclusive no, with 81% of drivers stating their level of road rage was no different towards a male than a female. However, the results did find that females are more likely to have increased feelings of road rage towards a man than a man would towards a woman.
The results of the survey show that younger people are likely to experience road rage much more than their elders, with over three-quarters of all adult drivers under 34 experiencing road rage! This is in stark opposition to the generation above them, as less than half of over 54s said they experienced rage on the road.
Welsh drivers are the most prone to road rage. Incredibly, 84% of the Welsh driving population experience road rage, which is over 5% higher than any of the other home nations! England scored second with over three-quarters (77%) of drivers admitting to feeling rage behind the while. Scotland and Northern Ireland both have a slightly smaller amount of road rage drivers, with 70% and 68% respectively.
- East Riding of Yorkshire, 100% of drivers:
Out of all the counties studied, the vast majority had a 60% or higher percentage of drivers who experience road rage. But the most were found in the East Riding of Yorkshire, where 100% of the surveyed drivers said they experienced road rage!
- Antrim, 90% of drivers:
The second highest percentage of road rage drivers was the 90% of motorists that get angry in the county of Antrim. The epicentre of Northern Ireland had by far the highest percentage of road rage drivers in that country.
- Lanarkshire and Northamptonshire, 88.9% of drivers:
Joint third place is shared between Lanarkshire in the lowlands of Scotland, and Northampton in the south of England; they both had almost 89% of drivers admit to having experienced road rage!
1 – Durham, 41.7% of drivers experience road rage:
On the other side, Durham is the county with the joint lowest amount of road rage-filled drivers. Less than 42% of drivers found themselves getting annoyed in and around the historic city at the heart of the North East county.
2 – West Sussex, 41.7% of drivers experience road rage:
At the other end of the country is West Sussex, it seems despite the geographical gap, drivers are just as nice to each other as in Durham. Amazingly these two counties are the only ones where fewer than half of the drivers experience road rage.
3 – Cheshire, 52.2% of drivers experience road rage:
Despite being home to many Premier League footballers, who seem to be in the papers following road accidents and collisions all the time; Cheshire drivers experience road rage the third lowest amount of anywhere in the country!
1 – 57.3% of motorists said drivers on their phones cause road rage
The number one cause of drivers’ road rage is other drivers on their phones, and it’s unsurprising, as using your phone whilst driving is illegal and also extremely dangerous! There are up to six penalty points given to drivers caught on phones.
2 – 57.2% of motorists said drivers not indicating causes road rage
It can be massively infuriating if you’re minding your own business and another car comes hurtling into your lane or makes a turn with no warning. It can cause other drivers to have to perform emergency braking or turning, and at worst can cause accidents. This lack of use of indicators is incredibly dangerous, but also an incredibly easy habit to get out of.
3 – 51.8% of motorists said slow drivers cause road rage
Slow driving might seem like a safer option for people driving, but it can be just as (if not more) dangerous than speeding to other road users. On motorways, slow drivers can cause frustration by causing delays for other drivers, as well as forcing HGVs to overtake them which blocks the road. Concurrently, on windy country roads, slow driving can really impact other people’s journey times and can lead to dangerous situations where frustrated drivers attempt to overtake in risky areas.
4 – 44.4% of motorists said tailgating causes road rage
As tempting as tailgating might be, it is actually illegal and is considered as a careless driving offence. It could land you a £100 fine, as well as three points on your license. Tailgating is dangerous, and it is unsurprising that it is one of the most common causes of road rage for almost 45% of people.
5 – 43% of motorists said last-minute braking causes road rage
Whilst it might help gain you a position in Formula 1, breaking late is incredibly dangerous and can cause unnecessary panic on the roads! Braking late can force other drivers to brake harshly, risking collision for a number of vehicles, and can also cause your brakes to wear down quicker than they should.
6 – 29.1% of motorists said undertaking causes road rage
Although undertaking isn’t technically illegal, it can be dangerous and be deemed as careless driving, which could result in a penalty. It is acceptable in some circumstances, such as when a car is turning right or performing a U-turn.
7 – 26.8% of motorists said middle lane hoggers cause road rage
Middle lane hoggers can be dangerous, particularly on a motorway as they can stop another driver from overtaking safely. Refraining from hogging the middle lane is part 264 of the highway code, and can actually cause more congestion as it reduces the lanes in which people can overtake.
8 – 26.7% of motorists said bright LED headlights dazzling at night causes road rage
It might give you a better view of the road, but when using bright lights you need to be aware of other drivers and oncoming traffic. When traffic is coming in the opposite direction, bright LED lights can dazzle a driver and impact their vision, which could cause an accident.
- Swearing: 53.4% of people admitted they swear when they get road rage
Swearing is the most common reaction to witnessing bad driving, and although we don’t know which swear words they have used, we can imagine which fruitful language is favourable!
- Shouting: 44.2% of people said shouting helps them alleviate road rage
The second most common road rage action is often used in conjunction with the first one. Often it is just shouting in frustration to themselves about the other driver, but in extreme cases, the window could be wound down by the road rager to give the other driver a direct earful.
It can be easy to lose control in the heat of the moment, but it’s essential to try and keep your cool!
- Beeping the horn: 42.6 % of people said they opt for slamming their horn when they get road rage
A less subtle form of road rage is beeping the horn at another driver to show anger when they make a mistake, it’s a form of road rage often aimed at other drivers not paying attention to a green light. Although the horn is often used incorrectly, it is actually there to warn other drivers of an imminent threat of collision but is more often used as a greeting for friends, a warning of speed cameras, or in this case, rage.
Beeping the horn or perhaps making obscene gestures could also see you hit with a fine too if you’re deemed to “not be in full control of a vehicle”.
1 – Sports car – 29.7% of people get the worst road rage from sports cars
The vehicle inducing the most road rage is a sports car with almost a third of people experiencing the worst road rage from this car type! Sports cars can be expensive, and those who drive them often want to maximise the abilities of the cars, however, this can lead to dangerous driving causing frustration to others on the road.
2 – 4×4 – 22.3% of people get the worst road rage from 4x4s
The second most commonly named vehicle causing rage on the road is a 4×4. There is often a certain level of luxury which comes with a 4×4, especially with the size of the car and the height in which you sit. However, regardless of how nice they may be to drive, 4x4s cause 22.3% of drivers to experience rage on the roads.
- Van – 20.9% of people get the worst road rage from vans
A van is the third highest road rage-inducing vehicle on our list, with 20.9% of drivers experiencing the worst road rage with this type of vehicle. With vans often having no rear window due to the contents they are capable of carrying, perhaps it’s the lack of vision which causes frustration from other drivers!
If you are someone who has experienced road rage, then you can probably relate to some of the reactions listed in this study, or at least the urge to react in this way. However, you could be risking a lot if you get caught reacting as a result of road rage, not just with the law but with future insurance companies down the line.
Always take care on the roads, and act responsibly when behind the wheel!
– All data within this survey was sourced from a Pollfish survey of UK residents.
– 1,000 UK residents took part in the survey, and it took place on the 29th July 2022.
– Gestures and penalties were retrieved from gov.uk