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******************** PRESS RELEASE: Embargoed until 00.00hrs, Friday 2 February 2007 *************************

Contact: Dianne Ferreira, Communications Officer
Tel: 01484 559909 or 07976 0691259 (out of hours)
Websites: www.brake.org.uk and www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk

Road rage affects eight in ten drivers
- and a third admit being affected by road rage once a week or more often

Most drivers admit driving while angry or stressed at other road users, reveals a survey by Brake and breakdown specialist, Green Flag.

The survey of more than 1,000 drivers also shows that a startlingly high number drive while dangerously distracted by stress and anger at least once a week – almost a third.

Key findings of the survey:

·Eight in ten drivers (78%) drive while angry or stressed about other road users, with one in three (31%) doing so once a week or more often

·More than six in ten drivers (63%) drive while feeling angry or stressed at something unrelated to driving

·Three-quarters of drivers (74%) drive while thinking about something other than work such as personal issues

·More than nine in ten (95%) drivers agree that it is important to keep calm and focused while driving for safety reasons

Driving while stressed or angry can be extremely distracting and affect the way you drive. Research has shown that angry drivers are more likely to take risks such as speeding, rapidly switching lanes, tailgating and jumping red lights. Driving in this way increases your chance of being involved in a crash.1

Stress is a constant theme in our lives. It the second biggest cause of time off work, and is estimated to cost the country £13bn a year.2 Research has shown that around 12 million adults see their GP with mental health problems each year and many of these are stress-related.3

Most drivers realise the dangers of driving while angry or stressed, and yet the vast majority still drive while distracted by stress or anger at other road users or something unrelated to driving.

Driving requires your full attention, and Brake advises all drivers who are feeling particularly angry or stressed to pull over at a safe place and allow time to calm down. You should only begin driving again once you are able to give your full attention to the road. You should take regular breaks at least every two hours to help concentration and should never jump into a car after an argument or if your mind is elsewhere.

Brake is calling on the Government to take urgent action to stop the daily carnage on our roads by introducing year-round, high-profile advertising campaigns to warn the public about the dangers of road rage and give advice on how to be a safer driver.

Case study:

Tara Bradshaw, aged seven weeks

Seven-week-old Tara Bradshaw died when the car she and her parents were in was forced into the path of an oncoming van. David Waterman, 24, of Harlow, Essex, lost his temper and drove his Vauxhall Cavalier into the car Tara Bradshaw was in, forcing it into the oncoming lane, Chelmsford Crown Court heard. Waterman was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and sentenced to tenyears in prison.

BBC News Online, 15 April 2005

Jools Townsend, head of education at Brake, says: “Driving is the most dangerous activity most of us do on a daily basis, and requires complete concentration. The demands of modern life often leads to stress and frustrations – and research shows that many of us succumb to stress on a regular basis. Driving while distracted by worries or frustrations can lead to fatal errors, or even dangerous, aggressive driving of the kind that killed Tara Bradshaw. We need to see drivers taking responsibility for their own safety and that of others, and not allowing themselves to drive if they’re not fully calm and focused. We also urge the Government to address this issue by introducing advertising campaigns warning drivers of the dangers they face, and giving advice on how to deal with anger and stress on the road.”

Nigel Charlesworth, spokesperson for Green Flag, commented: “It is worrying that so many people admit to driving while feeling stressed putting themselves and others at risk. Motorists should remain calm when driving to ensure they are concentrating fully on the road and if very stressed, should think twice about getting behind the wheel.”

For interviews with Brake, call 01484 559909 or 07976 0691259 out of hours.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:

1.Jerry Deffenbacher, PhD, Colorado State University (2005), www.apa.org/monitor/jun05/anger.html Burns, PC; Parkes, A; Burton, S; Smith, RK; Burch, D, How

2.‘Stress: A blight on modern life’ BBC Online, 6 September 2005

3.NHS direct, www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk

Brake

Brake is an independent national road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the nine deaths and 89 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake produces educational road safety literature, runs community training programmes and runs events including Road Safety Week (6 – 12 November 2006). Brake’s Fleet Safety Forum provides up-to-date fleet safety resources to fleet managers. BrakeCare, Brake’s support division, cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Green Flag

Green Flag Motoring Assistance provides roadside rescue and recovery to over 5m customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Green Flag’s incident management centre in Leeds manages around 1m breakdown incidents each year.

For more information on Brake’s Police our roads! campaign, go to website www.brake.org.uk and click on ‘Campaigns’.

Survey results in full:

The research was carried out by Brake volunteers across the UK among a broad range of drivers. 1,002 people were questioned.

Respondents were asked ‘Within the past 12 months, have you driven while feeling stressed, angry, annoyed or upset at the behaviour of other road users?’

• 4% answered about once a day or more frequently
• 12% answered several times a week
• 15% answered about once a week
• 16% answered about once a month
• 31% answered only once or twice
• 20% answered no
• 2% did not answer

Respondents were asked ‘Within the past 12 months, have you driven while feeling stressed, angry, annoyed, upset or over-excited at something unrelated to driving?’

• 2% answered once a day or more frequently
• 3% answered several times a week
• 10% answered about once a week
• 14% answered about once a month
• 34% answered only once or twice
• 36% answered no
• 1% did not answer

Respondents were asked ‘Within the past 12 months, have you driven while thinking about something other than driving, such as work or personal issues?

• 5% answered about once a day or more frequently
• 13% answered several times a week
• 15% answered about once a week
• 13% answered about once a month
• 28% answered only once or twice
• 25% answered no
• 1% did not answer

Respondents were asked: ‘Do you agree with the statement: ‘For safety reasons it is important to keep calm and focused while driving’?
§95% agreed
§5% did not agree



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