Driving schools do their very best to make sure the drivers of tomorrow are fully equipped to be behind the wheel of a car. And just in case things go wrong before that happens, all of them have driving school insurance.
According to a new study, however, it’s not just the driver that should attend driving school, it’s also his future passengers.
The poll of around 2,000 motorists reveals that 70% of them believe that a passenger who often shows unwarranted emotion, or offers ‘help’ or advice, is the most annoying thing when driving.
Flinching when someone drives ‘too close’ to the vehicle in front, criticising his or her driving, and pointing out the right junction or turnoff irritates drivers tremendously.
Other major irritations include developing ‘road rage’ on behalf of the drive, giving unneeded directions, and holding hands over your face.
The list also includes: giving advice about the best lane to be in; instructing the driver when to pull of at traffic lights; fiddling with the air con or heating controls; changing the music; gesturing at other drivers or even swearing at them; and reading out road signs as they go by.
A spokesperson for the Accident Advice Helpline (the company who ran the survey), David Carter, said: “You usually find back-seat drivers are the people who would prefer to be in control of the car, rather than sitting in as a passenger. And if you’re someone who drives on a daily basis, it can be really hard to switch off and let someone else take control.”
He added that passengers who react to what is happening and comment all the time could totally distract drivers, thereby increasing the risk of accidents or near-accidents.
Nagging partners, followed by mothers and then fathers were the biggest culprits.
Nearly 50% of those surveyed reported having been in a quarrel with somebody in the vehicle because of their intrusive comments, and 5% have jumped red lights because of this. Others reported missing a turning, and 7% actually reported being involved in collisions with other cars, pedestrians or cyclists.
In spite of the obvious prevalence of back-seat driving, only 21% of respondents were prepared to admit that they make themselves guilty of this practice when someone else is driving.
Carter concluded by saying that both passengers and drivers turn to Accident Advice Helpline for assistance when they have suffered injuries in non-fault accidents – and very often driver distractions are to blame. “We can all recognise the signs of back-seat driving and should be more aware of their impact on driver’s emotions and levels of concentration.”
Other signs that you are a back-seat driver include: complaining that the driver is driving too fast – or too slowly; loud gasps if the driver even brakes slightly’; hitting non-existent brakes; loudly disagreeing with the satellite navigation system; and frequently closing your eyes when somebody else is behind the wheel.
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