Research suggests ‘accident anxiety’ is widespread among drivers

12.00 | 27 February 2014 | | 4 comments

New research published today (27/2/14) indicates that while a large majority of drivers are “worried about driving”, very few think that more training will solve the problem.

The research, released by Allianz Insurance, suggests that ‘accident anxiety’ is prevalent on Britain’s roads, with 79% of respondents describing themselves as worried about driving. The insurer also says that “29 million (drivers) feel a crash is just around the corner”.

Allianz Insurance says that this ‘accident anxiety’ is caused by factors including tailgating (45%), aggressive ‘road rage’ behaviour (41%) and uninsured drivers (29%) – and that 17% of drivers have opted out of making a journey because of this.

In the research, 81% of respondents said they had been involved in a collision which was not their fault. After experiencing a collision, one in five respondents (22%) said they felt more worried, more stressed and less confident behind the wheel: however, just 7% believed that more driver training would solve the problem.

Jon Dye, CEO of Allianz Insurance, said: “It’s worrying to see that so many motorists feel they will have an accident, and yet so few feel more driver training would help.

“Drivers can only drive at their best if they feel calm and alert and not unduly worried about what other motorists are getting up to.”

James Gibson, head of communications at Road Safety GB, said: “This research shows that ‘accident anxiety’ is prevalent among the drivers surveyed.

“Actions like tailgating and aggressive driving behaviour can be particularly intimidating. Motorists need to find ways of coping with the actions of others when they get behind the wheel.

“The best advice is not to react to the aggressive and inconsiderate behaviour of others as this can trigger road rage. If you are being tailgated always create additional space in front of you and avoid harsh braking.  Some drivers are intent on overtaking and the best way to deal with this is to simply allow them to do so when safe.

“It can be useful to think about the things that cause you stress and anxiety and develop strategies to cope.”

The research was conducted earlier this month with 1,000 respondents who drive regularly.


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    We also recognise that many drivers do worry about driving and the potential consequences when it goes wrong. In addition, we’ve identified that many drivers feel that other drivers are mainly to blame when there is a crash or incident. As a result, they say that they, themselves, do not require training as it’s costly and takes up their time.

    However, we’ve found, over many years running driver awareness courses, that while drivers are usually reluctant to volunteer for training, once they have experienced good quality training and the role they themselves can play in reducing their own driving risk, they are more confident and want to make better driving decisions.

    David Richards, AA DriveTech, Basingstoke
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    The research is not currently available online. The press release says:

    Omnibus research was conducted between 07-10.02.14 with 1,000 respondents who drive regularly.

    When/if the research is made available online we will add a link to this story.

    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    No links to the actual research document so once again a press release about a survey has been published, but shorn of its context and lacking the caveats it’s very difficult to analyse the results without coming to incorrect conclusions.

    The respondents say that they feel training is not the answer, but who for? Is it the respondents thinking that they don’t want to be trained or is it they think that all those tailgating and speeding ‘bad apples’ don’t need to be trained? Knowing which is which changes the entire complexion of the survey.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. In this case, we have something that seems to me to be too bad to be true, which suggests that the survey questions, and/or the interpretation of the responses, are creating a bias. As always, there is a balance between confidence and anxiety when driving and I suggest a bit of each is healthy.

    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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