Lack of respect gets motorists all revved up

Article date: 21 September 2009

  • RAC research reveals most frustrating driving habits

Being cut up by other motorists, seeing drivers talking on their mobile phone, and being followed too closely are the three biggest motoring bugbears according to research released today.

The research, commissioned to mark the launch of RAC’s Road Respect Day, also revealed that a third of motorists get angry behind the wheel at least three times a week. Unsurprisingly, the nation’s capital, notorious for its heavy traffic, was voted the area of the UK with the lowest levels of respect shown on the road.

Up and down the country, motorists have identified the top five most frustrating driving behaviours as:

  1. Motorists driving too close behind (72%)
  2. Motorists on the phone while driving (68%)
  3. Being cut up by other motorists (68%)
  4. Not indicating (65%)
  5. Not saying thank you for giving way (48%)

Interestingly, driving too slowly causes more aggravation than speeding, with 45% of drivers saying they hate it when other motorists drive significantly below the speed limit.

While most motorists (85%) have experienced frustration on the roads due to the driving misdemeanours of other motorists, 70% considered themselves a respectful driver most of the time, with a further 20% stating they drive with respect and courtesy at all times.

When asked what measures should be taken to combat the aggressive driving styles of disrespectful drivers, 55% of those questioned called for tougher fines in addition to what is already in place for those deemed to be driving in a reckless or dangerous manner.

Half of all motorists surveyed were also in favour of issuing penalty points on offenders’ driving licences, a measure already in place for those caught using their handheld mobile phone. Teaching respectful driving as part of the learning process was also suggested to help improve life on British roads.

To mark the first annual Road Respect Day, an initiative aimed to bring back the lost art of courteous driving, RAC has teamed up with motor-mad gadget girl Suzi Perry to create the RAC Road Respect Guide, packed full of courteous and respectful motoring tips, designed to put the enjoyment back into driving. Download a copy of the guide at 

Suzi Perry says: “We all get a bit worked up from time to time on the road, but how we handle stressful situations is the key to making driving more pleasant. When another driver is polite it can really make your day, in return it’s so easy to be a respectful driver and even small things like acknowledging drivers that let you out at a junction, or letting others in when you’re in slow moving traffic can make a huge difference.”

Adrian Tink, RAC motoring strategist, adds: “RAC Road Respect Day is all about promoting the best driving practices which cost nothing, take no time and make a big difference to other road users.  Not only does it reduce the stress of getting from A to B but can improve road safety and makes driving more enjoyable for everyone.”

Look out for the RAC Road Respect vans which will be touring the nation in support of Road Respect Day, displaying courteous messages on high definition LCD screens.


For further information, please contact:

Deborah Hitchcock
Hill and Knowlton
Telephone: 0207 413 3241

Zaza Biddu
Hill and Knowlton
Telephone: 0207 413 3206

John Franklin
RAC Press Office
Telephone: 01603 680795

Notes to editors:

* Research commissioned by One Poll on a representative sample of 1,000 UK motorists between 11-14 August 2009

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists.  Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its members and has been ranked first for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study for the last three years and the top named service organisation in the July 2009 UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Aviva UK Insurance (formerly Norwich Union Insurance). Aviva is the UK's largest insurer with a market share of around 15%.

RAC is part of Aviva, the world's fifth largest insurance group which operates in 28 countries.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at


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