15 April 2019, 10:04

Mind your manners - Motorists are causing mixed signals

  • Two thirds (67%) of drivers say that road users are less polite than they were 10 years ago
  • 29% have been involved in a road rage incident with younger drivers more likely to be in a motoring confrontation

Almost nine in ten road users find it difficult to predict and understand the behaviour of other road users, reveals research by Saga Car Insurance.*

Motorists are reportedly struggling to understand fellow driver’s behaviours. This confusion could help to explain why two thirds (67%) of road users say that road users in general are less polite than they were 10 years ago.

Drivers are particularly muddled if fellow motorists are being helpful or rude when they flash their lights. One in five motorists (21%) believe that drivers are helpfully telling them that there is something wrong with their car when they are flashed from behind by another vehicle, however a similar number (18%) believe that this means that the person wants you to speed up.

When it comes to being flashed by an oncoming car it appears that younger drivers are more inclined to fear they’ve forgotten to put their lights on (32%), whereas more experienced drivers are more inclined to believe that there is a speed trap ahead (36%).

Despite this, drivers said they were quick to show their appreciation when someone gives way to them. Respondents reported to practice the importance the good motor manners with just under 2/3 (64%) of motorists waving in response to a driver giving way.

Regionally it seems there are differences in how we thank other drivers with just 72% of drivers in the north east thanking people with a wave, compared to just 52% of Londoners.  A quarter (26%) of drivers in the capital flash their lights, but only 5% of people in Wales, do so, preferring instead to give a thumbs up (16%).

Although there are some common driving practices motorists find particularly infuriating, just 15% said that they had been the victim of a road rage incident and 15% said they were the one to lose their temper with another road user. However younger drivers were 24% more likely to say they had been involved in a road-rage incident than more experienced motorists (38% under 50s and 23% over 50s). The age group least likely to find themselves in the middle of a road-rage incident are drivers over the age of 65 with eight in ten saying they’ve never had the unfortunate experience.

In response to a driving incident, a quarter of drivers said that they would forget about the occurance and drive on (25%) if they were angered by another road users’ driving.  However, two in five (43%) did say that they would sound their horn, shout or gesture at the other driver.  Those living in the South East (17%) are the most likely to lose their temper behind the wheel, whereas drivers in Yorkshire and the East Midlands are the least likely with less than one in ten saying they had instigated a road rage incident.

Alex Cross, director of insurance at Saga said “It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to the roads or have been using them for years it’s almost impossible to second guess the intentions of other road users. However, we all have equal rights to be on the road so a little give and take as in so many areas of life is what is required to make sure we don’t blow a gasket behind the wheel.“







Abbi Cummings

Notes to editors

Contact the Saga Press Office email pressoffice@saga.co.uk or call 01303 774716

1Populus interviewed 2046 adults, including 1016 aged 50+ online between 1st February 2019 and 3rd February 2019. Data was weighted to be nationally representative. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information www.populus.co.uk

Have you ever been involved in a ‘road rage’ incident (a verbal or physical confrontation caused by a disagreement on the road)? As a driver

  Scotland North East North West Yorkshire & Humberside West Midlands East Midlands Wales Eastern London South East South West

I lost my temper with another road user 


9% 15% 14% 8% 8% 16% 11% 15% 16% 7% 10%

Another road user lost their temper with me 


14% 13% 15% 8% 19% 20% 12% 18% 15% 13% 17%

I have never been in a road rage incident 


76% 72% 69% 79% 70% 60% 74% 63% 68% 69% 70%

If another road users' driving angers you, how, if at all, in daylight, do you usually respond?

  Scotland  North East North West  Yorkshire & Humberside  West Midlands East Midlands  Wales Eastern  London  South East South West 

Forget about the incident and drive on 


25% 30% 25% 28% 25% 24% 27% 20% 26% 28% 18%

Sound your horn briefly, just as a warning of your presence


20% 18% 18% 21% 18% 14% 18% 21% 17% 23% 23%

Gesture at them


7% 11% 10% 8% 6% 10% 10% 7% 5% 10% 11%

Sound your horn long and loud, to let them know you're angry 


11% 11% 10% 4% 9% 13% 5% 8% 7% 6% 8%



3% 6% 6% 7% 8% 4% 5% 14% 7% 8% 6%

Flash your lights


7% 7% 6% 5% 5% 3% 2% 3% 5% 3% 4%



0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 2% 1% 1% 2% 1% 0%

Follow their vehicle 


0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0% 1%

I don’t do anything


23% 14% 20% 21% 23% 21% 27% 22% 25% 16% 25%

I don’t get angry with other road users 

2% 2% 4% 3% 5% 6% 4% 4% 5% 3% 2%

About Saga

Saga is a leading provider of products and services primarily tailored for customers over the age of 50 in the UK. The Saga brand has been carefully developed over the past 60 years to become one of the most recognised and trusted brands among UK consumers aged over 50. Saga is synonymous in the UK with the over 50s market and is recognised for its high quality products and services.  These include cruises and holidays, home and motor insurance, savings and share dealing and the UK’s award winning Saga Magazine.