Road rage Britain: One in 10 learner drivers quit following abuse on the road

A third of UK driving instructors report witnessing road rage aimed at student drivers on a daily basis – with one in six claiming it happens in almost every lesson.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 11:28 am
A third of UK driving instructors report witnessing road rage aimed at student drivers on a daily basis with one in six claiming it happens in almost every lesson.

Two thirds (66%) of learner drivers have been subjected to abusive hand gestures from fellow road users, while half (49%) have experienced verbal abuse – with male drivers aged 25-40 the most common culprits

90% of learner drivers have been subjected to tailgating and overtaking, with almost a quarter (22%) of driving instructors claiming to have had students left in tears by the threatening behaviour of fellow drivers

Rob Atha from Real Motoring Tuition in Leeds shared experience of abuse local learners face Tailgating, verbal abuse, incessant overtaking and abusive hand gestures are just some examples of the aggressive behaviour experienced by learner drivers on UK roads during almost every lesson, new research by Marmalade, the specialist young driver insurer, revealed.

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According to the survey of UK driving instructors, overtaking and tailgating are the most common offences, reported by 90% of instructors, while beeping horns (68%), verbal abuse (49%), offensive hand gestures (66%), flashing lights (40%) and revving engines (36%) are all regular occurrences for UK leaners.

According to instructors, the behaviour is resulting in potentially fatal consequences, with 85% reporting that learners become nervous and start making more mistakes. Almost a quarter (22%) of UK learners have cried as a result, a third (33%) have had to pull over and 8% have become too scared to carry on learning to drive entirely.

Nearly all (93%) of driving instructors claimed that they are treated differently when driving in an L plate marked vehicle, versus one without, despite no change in their driving ability.

Mr Atha said: “The sad reality is that many people seem to want to have a pop at learner drivers – which I find particularly strange since we were all one once, and common sense would indicate we should cut them a little slack.

“Perhaps most interesting is that I often get beeps and verbal abuse when it is myself – a professional driver – behind the wheel of the learner car, which just goes to show it is the L plate, rather than driving ability, that appears to encourage people to become vocal. Learning to drive can be intimidating enough without people unfairly singling learners out for abuse.”

Those aged 25-40 are the age group most likely to be abusive to learner drivers. In contrast, young drivers aged 17-24 are the most supportive of learners, with only 11% instructors claiming to have witnessed learner abuse from this age group.

Crispin Moger, CEO of Marmalade, said: “Our study of UK driving instructors shows that learner drivers are being subjected to a shocking level of dangerous and threatening behaviour from other road users. This is leading many to lose their confidence and focus, with potentially fatal consequences. For some it’s even causing them to give up learning to drive entirely.

“What is especially worrying is that instructors report that the problem is getting worse, something I have witnessed first-hand while taking my daughter out on the road. That’s why Marmalade is calling time on aggression on the road. We need people to treat young drivers with the same respect as other road users.”