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‘Not indicating clearly’ voted as the most inconsiderate driving behaviour

Not indicating clearly has been named as the most inconsiderate driving behaviour on UK roads, according to an RAC Insurance poll of more than 2,100 motorists.

Nearly six in ten of the drivers surveyed said not signalling clearly, or failing to indicate at all, was their top inconsiderate action at the wheel, ahead of hogging the middle lane of a motorway and driving too close to the car in front.

Almost all drivers described themselves as being courteous and considerate on the road – only 1% didn’t – but they also believe that poor driving is an all-too-common sight, with only 4% saying they were unlikely to see any thoughtless behaviour on a typical half-hour drive.

And while every driver thought it was important to show consideration for other road users, 46% didn’t know that ‘being considerate’ is actually mentioned in the Highway Code. On learning that the Highway Code states: ‘Be considerate. Be careful of and considerate towards all types of road users, especially those requiring extra care’, 64% said in that case ‘most drivers need to re-read it’.

Interestingly though, when motorists were asked to say what makes a courteous and considerate driver, the greatest proportion – 69% – cited ‘always saying thank you to drivers that let them out of a junction giving way to them’. Some 59% felt it was slowing down when passing horses, and 49% said giving cyclists plenty of space. Indicating clearly was the fourth most popular response (48%), but quite a long way ahead of ‘leave plenty of distance behind the car in front’ (40%).

“There are a variety of behaviours at the wheel that motorists class as being inconsiderate, most of which involve deliberate acts which are blatantly thoughtless, but the top answer of ‘not indicating clearly’ is probably more due to misunderstanding or forgetfulness,” Simon Williams of RAC Insurance said. “The confusion it can cause is no doubt responsible for, at worst, accidents and, at best, needless wasted seconds of waiting only to find out that the driver wasn’t really going where you thought they were.

“The biggest example of ‘indicator confusion’ has to be at roundabouts. There seem to be different schools of thought on how to signal at roundabout, and very few that follow the rules set out in Rule 186 of the Highway Code. If more of us were to follow the indicating rules there would probably be fewer bumps at roundabouts.”