Article date: 14 April 2006
How many motorists will break the Highway Code rules this GoodFriday – which is not just one of the busiest days on UKroads but also the 75th birthday of the Highway Code?
With 18 million cars expected to take to the roads over theEaster Bank Holiday, the RAC Foundation is encouraging motorists todust off their copies and get the kids to play “I-Spy”with the six worst motorway “Highway Code Breakers.”*
The Highway Code is one of the best-selling books in the UnitedKingdom, selling one million copies a year. If laid end-to-end theywould stretch all the way round the M25 - but 80 per cent ofdrivers admit that they have rarely or never looked at it sincepassing their test.**
It was first published in 1931 when, concerned about the drivinghabits of “motorcads” and “scorchers”– pre-war hoodies who drove with heads down and hats overtheir eyes – Royal Automobile Club Committee member MervynO’Gorman suggested a Code would improve safety.
In the 1930s, eccentric signalling by motorists was thought tobe a major contributor to road accidents. Modern motorists put thisat number 6 in their most hated motorway habits.
This Good Friday the RAC Foundation has identified other main“Highway Code Breakers” and challenges motorists tospot them on their Easter break.
The Top Five worst Easter sinners are:-
- Hot Cross Buns – fired up and angry, the Hot Cross Bunsees other drivers as mobile roadblocks and will do anything toget them out of his way, from driving inches from their bumper toflashing his lights and making hand signals that MerynO’Gorman would not have approved of. Tailgating is the mosthated motorway habit, with 28 per cent of motorists putting thisat number 1.
- Easter Egg-Heads – the Easter Egg-Head is glued to hishi-tech gadgets – lap-top on knee, DVD player balanced onthe dashboard, PDA in one hand and stylus in the other, and mobilephone clamped to ear. Recent Transport Research Laboratory studiesshowed that in-car gadgets can take a driver’s eyes off theroad for up to seven seconds. At motorway speeds, a car can travelover 200 metres in that time. Motorists named the mobile phonemenace as number 2 in their most hated habit list.
- Easter Bunnies – the Easter Bunny hops between laneswithout warning – no “mirror, signal, manoeuvre”for them, just spot the gap and swoop. Motorists suddenly cuttingacross lanes to exit the motorway is number 3 in the mostunpopular motorway habits, with 15 per cent of motorists naming itthe worst habit.
- Middle Lane Disciples – like the 12 balls glued to theEaster Simnel Cake to represent the apostles, the Middle Lanedisciple is glued to the tarmac even if the lane inside is empty.Middle Lane Hogs were the fourth most hated motorway sinners, with13 per cent of motorists putting them top.
- Easter Chicks – the Easter Chick – male or female– thinks the rear-view mirror is there as an aid to personalgrooming and can be spotted putting make-up on, or shaving. Oftenfound driving slowly in the outside lane in front of a Hot CrossBun oblivious to his stressed-out manoeuvres. Nine per cent ofmotorists said this was the worst motorway habit, putting theEaster Chicks at number 5.
Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said:“Modern motorists have bad habits that were not even imaginedin 1931 – the mobile-phone menace or the battery-poweredshaver would have been dismissed as science-fiction by RoyalAutomobile Club Committee members.
“But the advice in the Introduction to the originalHighway Code remains as sensible today as it was 75 years ago:‘Always be careful and considerate towards others… bearin mind their difficulties and try not to add to them.”
"Though the Code has grown from 21 pages to 120, we encourageall motorists to brush up on their Highway Code knowledge and avoidgetting egg on their face this Easter."
* Download “Highway Code-Breaker Bingo” fromhttp://www.racfoundation.org
**NOP Automotive polled 500 drivers on behalf ofthe RAC Foundation and asked: “Which of the following do youthink is the worst driving habit on motorways?”
Motorists who drive too close to the car infront
Motorists who drive while talking on theirhand-held mobile phone
Motorists who suddenly cut across all threelanes in order to exit the motorway
Motorists who hog the middle lane
Motorists who drive slowly in the outsidelane
Motorists who never indicate
Motorists who overtake in the left-handlane
RAC Foundation Highway Code-Breaker Bingo
Ask thekids to keep an eye out for Bank Holiday bad habits. The first toget a line in any direction wins!
NB - The driver isn’t allowed to play…
RAC Foundation Highway Code-BreakerBingo
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