Road rage can be triggered by the simplest things, such as a bumper sticker, drivers chatting on their mobiles, even the mere sight of a performance car, according to a new survey by Continental tyres.
In a survey of 2,000 drivers, the tyre manufacturer discovered that 45% of British motorists allow their own prejudices to affect how courteous or aggressively they act towards other road users.
More than a third of drivers admit they allow factors such as car colour, car type and car cleanliness to affect how they behave towards other drivers and vehicles.
The research showed people are twice as likely not to let someone driving a performance car out at a junction ‘because they think they’re It’.
A waiting driver on their mobile phone is still the main reason most drivers will do their best to stop a car pulling out of a junction, while six in 10 drivers even get wound up when they see a car bearing a rival sports team’s bumper sticker or a cause they are against.
Mark Griffiths, a Continental tyres spokesman, said: “It is alarming that 34 per cent of drivers will change their driving style based on a prejudice about something as unimportant as how clean a vehicle is.”
One in three drivers will make allowances for drivers of hybrid or electric cars, while an equal number will block their progress if they can, calling the drivers ‘tree-huggers’ and ‘self-righteous’.
However, 27 per cent of drivers are knowingly more considerate and courteous to drivers of the same make and model of car that they themselves drive.
The important message which Continental tyres believes underlines this study is that appearance or prejudice should not influence drivers behaviour and emotions.
Griffiths said: “We might form opinions of people based on issues like appearance, though for that to lead to more aggressive driving is dangerous. We think road users must be courteous to others at all times.
“Rather than aesthetic and other non-risk affecting features, the importance should be placed on factors like driving behaviour, car safety and tyre condition – as these are the things that really impact on safety.”
The top ten of drivers we are least likely to let in at a junction are:
1. Anyone using a mobile phone
2. Performance car
3. Towing a caravan
4. Flash car
6. Taxi driver
Denna Bowman, Head Office