Overconfident drivers greatest risk on road

Article date: 7 April 2004

Cocky and overconfident motorists are posing a real danger onBritain’s roads, a new report reveals today.

The Norwich Union Insurance Crash Index shows we’rea nation of arrogant drivers - with 93% claiming to be veryconfident behind the wheel, and a further 60% believing they wouldpass their driving test if they were to take it today.

In reality the Crash Index has found that three-quarters ofthese 'confident drivers' have been involved in a collision. And anestimated 70% would fail their driving test second time round.

With more people heading out in the car this Easter, the Indexhas identified Maundy Thursday as one of the worst days of the yearfor car collisions. The insurer receives 20% more claims than on anaverage day of the year, with only the weeks before Christmasgenerating more.

Monday always gets blamed for being the worst day of the weekfor drivers – but Norwich Union claims data revealsyou’re most likely to be involved in an accident on a Friday.Your best bet to avoid a prang is to drive a gold coloured car inYorkshire on a Sunday.

Norwich Union’s Crash Index is based on an in-depthanalysis of claims data since 2000 and is designed to act as abarometer of trends and issues relating to the insurance industry.The most recent data reveals that one in eight drivers will have anaccident, which is the highest recorded collision level since theIndex began.

Julian Lowe, actuarial director at Norwich Union, who hascompiled the Crash Index, commented: "No one likes to admit theyare a bad driver, but we’ve been startled by motorists’misplaced confidence on the roads. Cocky drivers are a real menaceas they often regard good driving as the ability to master thecontrols of the car at higher speeds. Our claims data reveals justhow common car collisions really are and how we quickly forget theskills and safety guidelines needed to obtain a drivinglicence.

"In the lead up to the Easter weekend we’re encouragingall motorists to be extra careful on the roads. And as our Indexshows, it’s not just about paying attention on longerjourneys - people are nearly ten times more likely to have acollision driving in their local area rather than furtherafield."

The Crash Index also adds some fuel to the age-old battle of thesexes about who’s the best driver. Although more men [60%]than women [52%] pass their driving test first time round, men aremore likely to have a collision than women. And just 2% of Britsbelieve that men are safer drivers than women.

Other findings from The Norwich Union Crash Index include:

  • The majority of car collisions [65%] take place within a mileof a driver’s home address
  • You are most likely to be involved in a car collision at ajunction or on a country road
  • A third of motorists would drive off without leaving anycontact details if they accidentally bumped or scratched a parkedcar
  • Over 90% of drivers would support harsher punishments fordrivers caught without insurance

Commenting on the research Bryan Lunn, Chief Examiner at theInstitute of Advanced Motorists, said: "Norwich Union’sfindings are not surprising. Many experienced drivers think thatthey drive much better than they actually do. They tend to eitherunder-estimate the risks or over-estimate their ability to dealwith them, and believe that they will never have an accident. Mostdrivers don't undertake any further driver training after passingthe basic 'L' Test, which is actually just the beginning of thelearning experience, not the end of it."

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Download the Norwich Union Insurance CrashIndex in Adobe PDF. Alternatively, to obtainan electronic or hard copy of the report please contact CharlotteSpeedy on 0207 861 2486

Media contacts:
Charlotte Speedy, Matt Buchanan or Charlotte Ruddlesdin at QBO BellPottinger on 020 7861 2424 or Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on01603 684 225

Notes to editors:

  • To further support the claims data, Norwich Union commissionedTaylor Nelson Sofres to speak to 673 motorists throughout the UKabout their experiences of driving and their views on other roadusers in March 2004.

Norwich Union

  • Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market share ofaround 14 per cent. With a focus on insurance for individualsand small businesses, Norwich Union insures:
    - one in five households
    - one in seven motor vehicles
    - more than 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.

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