Car confessions of British drivers

The bad habits of British drivers

Let’s face it, many of us are likely to have a naughty habit or two when it comes to driving. Maybe you’re the sort who WhatsApps their friends while stuck in traffic, or perhaps you’re insistent on flirting above the speed limit on every journey?

Texting and speeding are two of the more obvious bad – and dangerous – habits of British road users but, with recent data from the Department for Transport showing UK drivers culpable for more than 3,000 reported driving offences, we wanted to find out more about the bad habits of British drivers.

We surveyed 1,000 of you, no matter whether you lease a car or own it, what you get up to behind the wheel – and then found out what those behaviours could be punished with. Here are the results.

Extreme caraoke

We all like a good singalong, and what better place to have one than in the comfort of our cars? You can blast the music as loud as you like, listen to whatever you want and no one will ever hear you butcher those high notes. It all sounds pretty ideal, doesn’t it? Plenty out there would agree, with 58% of those surveyed admitting to playing excessively loud music while driving – our number one bad habit.

 Excessive music volume graphic 

The fact is, belting out Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” might be a good way to pass the time, but it isn’t exactly conducive to safe driving. You might miss a turning, or not notice the sirens of an emergency vehicle closing up behind you.

Get caught and you’ll likely get a verbal warning the first time around. Do it again, and your car could potentially be seized.

Motorway munchies

It’s decidedly illegal to enjoy a few refreshments on the move, but that hasn’t stopped 49% of our surveyed drivers eating while at the wheel and 41% drinking a non-alcoholic beverage. Crisps, chocolate, a can of pop – it doesn’t matter what you’re snaffling down; all will get you hit with 3 to 9 points on your licence and a potential £100 fine.

Fizzy drink in a car

So, next time that Kit Kat is giving you the eyes from the passenger seat, you might want to think twice and take a break from your journey before guzzling it down – otherwise it could end up being an awfully pricey snack.

Burger and a car

“I’ve only had a couple…”

We’ve all probably heard that line at the end of a night in the pub or a meal out. You might have even said it yourself alongside other classics like “I feel fine” and “it’s only a 5-minute drive”. Rather alarmingly, 29% of our respondents, including 38% of 18-24-year olds, admitted to having driven when knowingly over the drink drive limit – even if only just over.

Drink graphic with car 

Driving under the influence is no joke. Drink drivers put themselves and others at serious risk, with 250 fatalities directly linked to drink driving in 2017 alone.

The authorities won’t hold back if you get caught. Six months imprisonment, an unlimited fine and a minimum one-year driving ban is the going rate for first time offenders. Of course, cause an accident and things could get a whole lot worse.

Honourable mentions

There’s plenty more stuff we’re getting up to that we shouldn’t. Here are a few more misdemeanours from the driver’s seat:

  • Poor parking: 38% of those surveyed said they are happy to mount the kerb and potentially block a walkway – something that will get you a £70 ticket in London, with calls to introduce the fine nationwide.
  • Going hands-free…sort of: Ever put your friend on speaker phone or got your phone’s sat-nav up and running and placed it carefully on your lap? Nearly a fifth of us have, but get caught and you’ll get 6 points and a £200 fine.
  • Road rage: Hand gestures, aggressive driving, telling someone they’re a you-know-what; 16% of us could do with some in-car anger management, with men twice as likely as women to get irate behind the wheel. Road rage, as an offence, comes under “disorderly behaviour”, which could see you fined 75% of your weekly income.

swearing in a car

So, it would seem that a lot of us have at least one mischievous, or even dangerous tendency to speak of when it comes to our daily commutes. However, for the sake of better safety on the roads, not to mention saving ourselves potential fine money or even some time behind bars, we all might want to think about breaking our bad driving habits.