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2 June 2005

Forecasters predict summer of road rage

Congestion and road works are driving motorists into danger

Stress brought on by traffic congestion and road works is producing an epidemic of aggression and bad driving on the UK’s roads, experts warned today.

And with forecasters predicting an uncomfortably hot summer for motorists, tempers are set to reach boiling point - according to research by windscreen experts Autoglass..

Half of all motorists admitted driving conditions made them so stressed (31%) or angry (21%) they vented their frustrations on other road users – by tailgating, speeding and cutting up other drivers.

Whilst almost three quarters admitted to driving aggressively (72%) or too close to other vehicles (74%), as many as nine in ten regularly broke the speed limit to make up the average 25 minutes traffic jams added onto each journey.

Other driving faux pas highlighted by the research, which comes as the Government announced plans to introduce Pay As You Go charging for road users, included jumping traffic lights (71%), cutting up other drivers (68%) and rushing out at roundabouts or junctions (64%).

As a result, one in 12 – the equivalent of 2.7m drivers – have had an accident of some sort, they told Autoglass. A quarter (25%) have had a near miss.

Nigel Doggett, managing director of Autoglass, said: “Driving can be a very stressful experience, but it seems that the delays caused by congestion and road works are pushing many drivers over the edge.

“And the situation is set to worsen over the summer, as councils take advantage of the dry weather to re-tarmac roads and complete road works.

“As we speak there are road works taking place on a quarter of all UK motorways. It is hardly surprising that motorists are becoming frustrated.”

And the research showed that measures designed to improve road safety, such as road humps and speed cameras, were amongst the most dangerous – with two-thirds of drivers admitting to speeding up and taking risks to make up the ‘lost’ time they caused.

Four in five (79%) drivers say they feel inconvenienced by road safety measures, and they are as annoying as being burgled or robbed (44%) or having their car broken into (48%).

Adds Nigel Doggett: “More needs to be done to ensure that drivers understand that road safety measures are genuinely working to keep them safe, not to inconvenience them. They certainly must not be seen as a justification for risk-taking elsewhere.”

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