Tailgating drives 85 per cent of motorists to distraction, new research finds

Drivers not indicating when turning/changing lane, motorists using mobile phones and using full-beam headlights were all included in the top ten. Picture: Carlos BCN
Drivers not indicating when turning/changing lane, motorists using mobile phones and using full-beam headlights were all included in the top ten. Picture: Carlos BCN
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Tailgating by other drivers is the behaviour that annoys motorists most on the roads, according to new research.

The poll found that 85 per cent of drivers questioned found the practice annoying, while potholes were cited as the second most irritating thing, mentioned by 81 per cent of respondents.

Other annoyances in the top ten included drivers not indicating when turning/changing lane (78 per cent), motorists using mobile phones (75 per cent) and using full-beam headlights (71 per cent).

However, only about four in ten – 41 per cent – of the 731 Scots surveyed said they were bothered by other drivers breaking the speed limit.

As part of the same research, 1,025 Scottish adults were asked a series of true/false questions by pollsters YouGov, with the survey finding that just over one in ten Scots think drivers can legally handle their mobile phone while sitting in their car at traffic lights.

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More than six in 10 people believe that if you drive into the back of someone, the accident is always your fault.

Gordon Bell, partner and head of litigation at Glasgow-based personal injury lawyers Dallas McMillan, which commissioned the study, said: “As one of Scotland’s leading personal injury lawyers, we handle large numbers of motoring accident claims – so we’re not surprised by some of the survey findings.

“However, when it comes to the law on car accidents, sometimes it’s not quite as simple as you first think.

“Although in most cases it will be your fault if you drive into the back of the car in front, it’s not always so.

“For example, if you have a blackout due to an unknown medical condition or the driver in front is driving recklessly, you may not be liable.

“If you are distracted at the wheel by a sudden life-threatening incident, which leads you to crash into a vehicle braking in front of you, then you may not be held to blame.

“That’s why it’s always worth recording what happens contemporaneously and never admitting liability at the scene of an accident.”

Other annoyances

The other annoying behaviours in the top ten were slower drivers staying in the middle or outside lane on motorways, which annoyed 66 per cent of motorists surveyed, and drivers jumping the queue at roadworks, mentioned by 63 per cent.

Six in ten found it annoying when they were cut up by overtaking drivers, and 51 per cent were irritated by drivers braking at the last minute.

The research was carried out in August.

Transport experts have proposed a “pay-as-you-drive” tax to help fund repairs of potholes on Scotland’s roads.