Personal Injury

UK Driver Distractions Revealed

Slater and Gordon’s study into driving habits reveals what drivers get distracted by and the lack of knowledge surrounding the new Highway Code.

14 November 2022

In the UK, there are 40 million drivers on the road, but that doesn’t mean that everyone on the roads is following safe driving practices. Nicholas Hagi-Savva senior associate in our personal injury team said: “Even if you follow all the rules of the road, there will be people out there that do not, putting you, and other road users at significant risk.”

According to road safety charity Brake, every 16 minutes, someone is killed or seriously injured on UK roads. To delve deeper into this issue on Road Safety Week, we surveyed regular road users to determine the UK’s driving habits.

What is the UK driving habits?

Our research shows that 10%* of people are willing to risk six penalty points and a £200 fine by using their phone while they’re driving to send a text message. Given the size of the UK’s driving population, this would suggest that over 4 million road users would text while driving.

That’s not the only thing people use their phone for while driving, almost one-third (31%) of people would accept a call while driving, and 9% would answer emails.

The research also revealed that 18% of people would change the address on their sat nav without pulling over to do so safely, and roughly the same amount of people (19%) would search for music on their streaming service while continuing to drive.

Technology isn’t the only driving distractions people have behind the wheel. Over a quarter of people (26%) say they’re likely to eat while driving, and 8% of people would put on their makeup.

The new Highway Code rules

At the start of 2022 the Department for Transport and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency updated The Highway Code. These changes were designed to improve road safety for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

With changes having taken place in January 2022, our research shows that only 2 in 10 drivers (21%) say they would do very well, if tested on their knowledge of The Highway Code. As part of the new code, the ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ ranks road users in order of vulnerability, giving those most vulnerable higher priority. We asked UK drivers to complete the order of priority as they think correct, with 52% of road users answering incorrectly. For more information on the changes within the Highway Code, see our breakdown of what you need to know.

Nicholas Hagi-Savva added: “This Road Safety Week, we want to instil in people how important it is to protect not only themselves, but other and potentially more vulnerable road users. Accidents will, of course, always happen, but by raising awareness of the data this Road Safety Week, we really hope that those who do ignore the law take notice and think about their driving behaviours. Ultimately, we want to make the UK’s roads safer for everyone.”

How Slater and Gordon can help

If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, or involved in a road traffic collision, our expert personal injury solicitors are here to help. Our specialist team will assess your case, talk you through the claims process and get started on building your claim as soon as possible. We’ll set out to find the insurer of the defendant and make contact, whilst also organising and instructing any rehabilitation you may need. At Slater and Gordon, we’ll conduct your road traffic collision case on a No Win No Fee basis, which means there is no financial risk to making a claim. We’re known for taking a chance on those who may’ve been turned down by other firms, as we believe that no case should be hard enough for us to support. To speak to one of the team, you can contact us online or at 0330 041 5869.

*survey results based on 1,444 UK drivers

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