Survey: UK Drivers’ Biggest Fears
More motorists are navigating UK roads now than ever before. And while cars provide an excellent mode of transport to help you get from A to B easily and go on exciting adventures miles away from home, getting behind the wheel can be a source of anxiety for many.
To get to the root of some of these fears, we wanted to put together a survey targeting some of the biggest problems. From region-specific anxieties to the most feared dangers by category, we’ll take you through our findings here.
We surveyed 622 members of the public to uncover UK Drivers’ biggest fears, ranging from weather conditions, road conditions, other drivers and drivers’ own driving capabilities and concerns.
The data was then collected and analysed to get to the bottom of the anxieties and nerves felt by our motorists.
Biggest Driving Dangers: Ranked
According to the UK motorists involved in our survey, the biggest danger on the roads is Other Drivers, with over half of participants (55%) stating this as a prominent hazard. This was followed, although not closely, by Weather Conditions, with 16.2% stating this as the biggest danger to them while driving. Road Conditions ranked as the third biggest danger, with 10.1% responding that this is their top threat when driving.
6.9% held themselves accountable with regard to their own driving, stating their own driving as being the biggest danger to them.
Top 10 Driver Fears
The trend of other drivers being an issue continues to shine through with these results too. A massive 70.3% of survey participants stated that Other drivers driving recklessly was something that caused feelings of fear or anxiety while driving.
The second most popular thing that caused driving fear and anxiousness was Driving in bad weather, with 42% of participants stating this as their top fear, followed very closely by Cyclists driving recklessly, at 41.5%.
Some other top fears included Driving in unknown areas (32.3%), Causing an accident (29.3%) and Driving next to a lorry or big truck (also at 29.3%).
Drivers’ Biggest Fears Across Categories
From weather to driver capabilities, there’s a few major categories that the big fears can fit into. Let’s take a closer look at each category below.
Most Feared Weather Conditions: Ranked
Unsurprisingly, Snow/Ice was the weather condition most feared by motorists, with around 4 in 5 (82.2%) participants saying that driving in these weather conditions makes them feel uneasy.
This was followed by Rain/wet weather at 35%, and Hailstone at 22.5%. This suggests that wet and wintry weather causes the most fear among UK drivers, which could be because we experience these conditions so often.
Road Conditions Most Feared by Drivers
Blind Junctions were the top feared road condition, with 43.9% stating that these spark fear while driving, followed very closely by Potholes (43.4%).
Narrow roads were another big one, with 37.1% of participants stating that these were their most feared road condition.
Over 1 in 5 (21.2%) of participants feared Motorways and roughly the same number of participants also feared Country Roads (21.9%). The roads that motorists are most used to could affect the response to this since those that regularly drive on country roads would be less likely to fear them, and vice versa.
Other Driver Actions Most Feared by Drivers
With other drivers causing fear among motorists, Tailgating was unsurprisingly the action that motorists feared the most, at 62.9%.
This was followed by Overtaking unsafely (59.6%) and Switching lanes recklessly (56.1%).
Cyclist Actions Most Feared by Drivers: Ranked
Although more motorists are on the roads than ever before, these roads are also being shared with cyclists. Whether there are dedicated cycle lanes or cyclists are sharing the roads with all types of vehicles, this can cause fear and anxiety for motorists.
Squeezing in between vehicles was the action carried out by cyclists that drivers felt most fearful or anxious about while driving, with 58.2% of participants selecting this. This was followed by Cycling outside of cyclist paths when there’s one available (46.9%).
This suggests that drivers feel less anxious when cyclists can use their own lanes or paths and use them correctly. Infrastructure is slowly catching up to allow cyclists and motorists to co-exist with as little fear as possible, but it could take a few more years to see significant improvements across the UK.
Drivers’ Top Fears about their own Driving Capabilities
Driving in unknown areas was the biggest fear in terms of personal driving capabilities, with 42.1% stating that this makes them feel anxious or nervous while driving.
Motorway driving was also fear-inducing for many, with just under a quarter (24.8%) of drivers stating that they feared Merging onto the motorway, and 22.7% stating that they feared Driving on the motorway in general. This could be down to anxieties about driving at higher speeds, but it could also be linked to fears about their capabilities under pressure and in new situations.
Drivers’ Top Fears about Their Car while Driving
Tyre Blowout was the biggest fear in terms of things that could go wrong with your vehicle while driving, with 43.9% of participants stating this as a major anxiety. This was very closely followed by Breaking down at 43.6%.
Car Accident Causes
Participants again held themselves accountable for their driving errors, with almost 1 in 5 (19%) admitting to having caused an accident due to their driving.
Own driving (19%) was the biggest cause of accidents according to this survey, followed by 14.3% of drivers who’ve been in a car accident caused by poor weather conditions.
11.1% said they’d experienced an accident due to other drivers or cyclists driving recklessly.
The lowest accident rate came from vehicle malfunctioning, which hopefully reassures the large proportion of UK motorists who worry about their car having issues and causing an accident.
Drivers Fears: Additional Questions
Over half of UK drivers surveyed admitted to being a nervous or anxious driver at least some of the time, with over 1 in 4 (26.5%) saying they are, and just under a quarter saying they sometimes are (24%). Almost 2 in 5 (37.6%) have actually avoided driving altogether due to their feelings of anxiety.
When it comes to driving during the day compared to night-time driving, the majority (47.6%) of participants said that they feel more fearful and anxious driving at night, however 43.4% were indifferent on the matter. 10% said they felt more anxious when driving during the day, which could be a result of the busier roads.
Biggest Driving Anxieties by Region, Age & Time Since Passing the Driving Test
Where do the UK’s Most Nervous Drivers Live?
The region with the most nervous drivers reported was the East Midlands, with 40.9% in this part of England identifying themselves as anxious drivers. This coincides with the county of Lincolnshire being the most dangerous to drive through in the East Midlands. Following closely behind, Wales was the region with the second-highest percentage of anxiety-filled drivers.
Meanwhile, North Ireland ranked the lowest out of all the UK regions, with just 15.4% of their drivers admitting to being nervous about getting behind the wheel. The North East ranked as the second-lowest region where motorists fear driving, with 17.4%. These areas are typically considered to be more rural, which could suggest that drivers enjoy their scenic drives through the coastal spots and in the hills.
Which Age Range has the Most Nervous Drivers?
Just 15.5% of over 65s consider themselves to be nervous or anxious drivers, compared to 43.5% of those aged 25-34 years old. This could suggest that younger people are less anxious about driving than older people are.
How Anxious are UK Drivers based on the Length of Time Since Passing the Driving Test?
Half of drivers who passed their test 6-10 years ago consider themselves to be nervous or anxious drivers, which is only marginally higher than those who passed 0-5 years ago. From this, we can conclude that motorists typically aren’t becoming more confident over time.
However, just 1 in 5 (20.6%) drivers who passed their test more than 10 years ago consider themselves to be a nervous or anxious driver. Therefore, it could be the case that the nerves and anxiety take much longer than expected to lessen.
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