New research by insurance company More Than reveals shocking ignorance among drivers about road signs. Do you know the sign for the National speed limit? 34% don’t. A worrying one in seven, when asked to identify the sign for a slippery road, thought that it meant there was paint on the road!
Sadly, this kind of evidence is not isolated to one survey. Goodyear’s Test the Nation survey highlighted that as many as 44% of drivers don’t realise that a red and amber light together means stop. Around 30% think it’s quite all right to drive over a zebra crossing when pedestrians are waiting to cross. Others thought that the sign for a no right turn actually meant that a road ahead on the right was closed. For many drivers it seems that the rules of the Highway Code have long since been forgotten.
Speed limits are widely flouted and drivers are simply complacent about the risks to themselves and other road users. Over one third exceed the 30 mph limit in built up areas and the problem is even worse on motorways, where 43% admitted to reaching speeds of 81 mph, instead of sticking to the 70 mph limit. 20% of drivers have notched up penalty points on their licences over the last 10 years and every day a staggering 2,243 are caught speeding, according to DVLA statistics.
The police are increasingly offering drivers the chance to improve their driving skills rather than paying fines and picking up penalty points. It’s better for everyone’s safety, and insurance premiums, if we become better drivers, but many still refuse. 28% would simply prefer to pay the fines and carry on their bad habits. Gary Rae, senior campaigner for the road safety charity Brake says “These are worrying findings. The research suggests a significant proportion of drivers seem to think it is okay to break the laws of the road. It can never be acceptable and we urge all drivers to respect road safety laws and recognise that such laws exist to help save lives.”
All this adds up to a shocking mismatch between how drivers view their competence and what they’re like in reality. Don’t wait to discover this until after an accident and needless injuries. Research like this should lead to action and clearly a change is needed among Britain’s drivers to tackle this terrible combination of ignorance and complacency.