Are Brits Polite Drivers?

Wed 22nd Jun 2022

An act of kindness on the roads can often leave many motorists in a quandary, how exactly are we to acknowledge someone letting you out at a junction, or waiting as you pass a tight spot in the road?

New research from National Tyres and Autocare, in a survey of 1,000 customers, has found that flashing our headlights is the popular response as a gesture of thanks, however, according to the Highway Code, we could actually be risking a fine of £1,000.

The confusing rule states drivers should only ‘flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users.’ Yet the survey tells us that one in five motorists are flashing their headlights.

Elsewhere in the survey, the care care firm asked their customers, what do drivers actually appreciate from fellow motorists on the road, and the top answer was others keeping a safe distance behind them, with 20 per cent of the vote. Other appreciative motoring moments are indicating well ahead of time (17%), thanks afer a nice gesture (16%) and waiting a turn when queuing or merging into traffic (16%).

“Tailgating relates to the act of driving too close to the vehicle in front. This is seriously dangerous, as doing so doesn’t provide the following vehicle enough time to react to the one ahead,” said Michael Bourne, Group Marketing & eCommerce Director at National Tyres.

“Aside from the safety aspects, drivers can also be penalised for tailgating. Police can issue on-the-spot fixed penalties of £100 and potentially three points for inconsistent lane use. That can increase to £2,500 if a driver is charged for careless driving or driving without care and attention.

“When driving, you should always allow a two-second gap to the car in front, as a bare minimum. Sometimes leaving a much bigger gap is needed when conditions are poor as it’ll take you longer to stop.”