British Driven Nuts By Overconfident Drivers; Maundy Thursday Rated as High Accident Day

April 7, 2004

Cocky and overconfident motorists are posing a real danger on Britain’s roads, a new report reveals.

The Norwich Union Insurance Crash Index reportedly shows the country to be a nation of arrogant drivers – with 93 percent claiming to be very confident behind the wheel, and a further 60 percent believing they would pass their driving test if they were to take it today.

In reality the Crash Index has found that three-quarters of these ‘confident drivers’ have been involved in a collision. And an estimated 70 percent would fail their driving test second time round. With more people heading out in the car this Easter, the Index has identified Maundy Thursday as one of the worst days of the year for car collisions. The insurer reportedly receives 20 percent more claims than on an average day of the year, with only the weeks before Christmas generating more.

Monday always gets blamed for being the worst day of the week for drivers – but Norwich Union claims data reveals drivers are most likely to be involved in an accident on a Friday. Their best bet to avoid a prang is to drive a gold coloured car in Yorkshire on a Sunday.

Norwich Union’s Crash Index is based on an in-depth analysis of claims data since 2000 and is designed to act as a barometer of trends and issues relating to the insurance industry. The most recent data reveals that one in eight drivers will have an accident, which is the highest recorded collision level since the Index began.

Julian Lowe, actuarial director at Norwich Union, who has compiled the Crash Index, commented, “No one likes to admit they are a bad driver, but we’ve been startled by motorists’ misplaced confidence on the roads. Cocky drivers are a real menace as they often regard good driving as the ability to master the controls of the car at higher speeds. Our claims data reveals just how common car collisions really are and how we quickly forget the skills and safety guidelines needed to obtain a driving licence.

“In the lead up to the Easter weekend we’re encouraging all motorists to be extra careful on the roads. And as our Index shows, it’s not just about paying attention on longer journeys – people are nearly ten times more likely to have a collision driving in their local area rather than further afield.”

The Crash Index also adds some fuel to the age-old battle of the sexes about who’s the best driver. Although more men [60 percent] than women [52 percent] pass their driving test first time round, men are more likely to have a collision than women. And just 2 percent of Brits believe that men are safer drivers than women.

Other findings from The Norwich Union Crash Index include:

– The majority of car collisions [65 percent] take place within a mile of a driver’s home address;

– You are most likely to be involved in a car collision at a junction or on a country road;

– A third of motorists would drive off without leaving any contact details if they accidentally bumped or scratched a parked car;

– Over 90 percent of drivers would support harsher punishments for drivers caught without insurance;

Commenting on the research Bryan Lunn, chief examiner at the Institute of Advanced Motorists said, “Norwich Union’s findings are not surprising. Many experienced drivers think that they drive much better than they actually do. They tend to either under-estimate the risks or over-estimate their ability to deal with them, and believe that they will never have an accident. Most drivers don’t undertake any further driver training after passing the basic ‘L’ Test, which is actually just the beginning of the learning experience, not the end of it.”

To obtain an electronic or hard copy of Index Report contact Charlotte Speedy at: +44 [0]207 861 2486.

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