Survey reveals extent of risky overtaking

A survey carried out by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line Insurance has revealed that risky overtaking forces one in seven drivers to take evasive action.

Brake and Direct Line Insurance are urging drivers to hang back, slow down and chill out on country roads to avoid tragedies, as a survey reveals the extent of risky, aggressive overtaking.

An alarming one in seven drivers (14%) report that in the past year they have been forced by another driver’s overtaking to swerve, pull over or brake to avoid a collision.

Brake and Direct Line’s survey also found that, in the past year:

  • Four in five drivers (80%) have felt endangered by an overtaking manoeuvre, either of their own, their driver, or another vehicle
  • Almost all drivers (94%) have witnessed a risky overtaking manoeuvre, and more than half (53%) see them monthly or more often
  • One in five drivers (18%) admit they have themselves overtaken another vehicle when they were not certain if there were any hidden vehicles or hazards they could have hit during the manoeuvre.

When it comes to owning up to risky overtaking, it was most common among male and young drivers, with 21% of men and two in five (39%) 17-24 year olds admitting doing so when they weren’t sure the road ahead was clear. The figures for speeding paint a similar picture, with almost half of male drivers (44%) and more than half of young drivers (17-24; 56%) doing over 60mph on single carriageway country roads, compared with less than a third (31%) of women and two in five drivers (37%) overall. This tallies with the statistical evidence that young male drivers are involved in many more crashes than older and female drivers [1].

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “Overtaking on single carriageway country roads is a huge risk, and one that ultimately just isn’t worth it. Why risk it and rush? You could cause a devastating, high-speed, head on crash that ends lives and ruins others. In spite of this, a significant minority are still taking the risk and performing this aggressive and selfish manoeuvre. We’re urging all drivers to avoid overtaking on country roads unless absolutely essential and 100% safe – that doesn’t include if you’re feeling impatient because someone in front is driving a few mph slower than you want to. In those situations, cool-headed and responsible drivers hang back and relax. We’re also urging drivers to stay well within speed limits, and slow right down for villages, bends, brows and bad weather, to protect themselves and others.”

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