Research & reports

Title: RAC Report on Motoring 2014

Organisation: RAC
Date uploaded: 3rd March 2015
Date published/launched: May 2014

Based on the views of more than 1,500 drivers, and commentary by a panel of motoring experts, the RAC Report on Motoring 2014 examines motorists’ behaviours, attitudes and beliefs covering a range of subjects including road safety.

Mobile phones
When it comes to safety, the report says that drivers see mobile phones as the most deadly distraction. 34% of those interviewed said they worry about other drivers being distracted by their mobile phones. This rises to 49% among older motorists aged 65+ years – an increase of 9% in the past 12 months. 75% of respondents said they regularly see people people chatting on their mobile phone while driving, and 44% claim to see this during most of their car journeys. However, just 8% of those interviewed admitted to doing it themselves, leading the report to conclude that they are either being economical with the truth or “do not consider themselves as lawbreakers” when it comes to using their mobile while driving.

The report says that drivers are also worried about young people being distracted by modern technologies; 31% of respondents said that smartphones make children “dangerously oblivious to their surroundings”. This figure rises to 39% among motorists aged over 45 years.

Neglecting the Highway Code
The report says that motorists are failing to maintain their knowledge of motoring laws and driving best practice. It says only a small minority knew the recommended stopping distances at 70mph and at 30mph, and that the majority seriously underestimated the correct stopping distances.

The report also highlights a lack of understanding of the law on new driving offences such as tailgating and hogging the middle lane, and says a majority of motorists don’t understand the law regarding using mobile phones while driving. To back up this claim, it says that the vast majority of respondents think it is perfectly legal to send texts while their car is stationary with the engine running.

Support for motorway speed increase
The report says that drivers are more likely to speed on motorways than on other roads, and a healthy majority (70%) would like to see the speed limit on motorways increased. 58% of respondents think the speed limit for motorways should be 80mph or above.

67% of those interviewed admitted to exceeding the speed limit on motorways, an increase of 2% and 4% on 2013 and 2012 respectively. While 41% said it is perfectly acceptable to travel at up to 80mph in a 70mph limit, just 12% think it is acceptable to drive at 40mph in a 30mph limit.

Adverse weather/driving conditions
When it comes to conditions such as heavy rain, snow or ice, the report says that many drivers feel distinctly uncomfortable, with many actually avoiding driving altogether in these situations.

79% admitted to feeling uncomfortable driving on icy roads and 95% of those try to avoid driving in these conditions. 72% are uncomfortable driving in snow, and 96% of those avoid driving in these conditions whenever they can. Young drivers are more likely to feel uncomfortable (85%) in snowy conditions than older, more experienced drivers (75%).

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