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UK drivers are angrier and more stressed than almost all our European neighbours

A recent study has found that despite the UK seeing the second lowest number of road fatalities in the last ten years, we still feel more stressed, angry and impatient than most other nations when we get into our vehicles. 

The Safest Place to Drive

In two recent studies, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety found that Sweden has suffered the fewest road deaths per population of any European country over the last decade, with Britain coming a close second. This might sound like great news for us Brits, but in fact when you dig into the data, there are some major differences between the two countries. For example, compared to Sweden, we have more pedestrian and cyclist deaths per population, as well as a higher number of young motorists killed behind the wheel.

Could road rage be causing these discrepancies? In a recent study by Ikano Bank, they found that Brits are on average angrier, more stressed and more impatient than most other Europeans; something that may have an impact on the safety of our driving.

road rage in the uk

How do we compare?

Norway performed the best in 2015 for the least number of road fatalities, however Sweden has averaged out with the least over the last 10 years.

While road safety charity PACTS found that Britain had the second least, they have advised certain improvements if we want to ensure people’s safety on the roads.

Britain has seen a high proportion of deaths on faster roads of 60mph and above, as well as more deaths per unit length of motorway. We also have a high ratio of 18-24 year old road-related deaths – a possible reflection of our lower driving age limit.

Worryingly, the charity also found that cars in the UK have lower Euro NCAP safety ratings compared to other countries. Pedestrian protection scores – one of the four grades in the Euro NCAP test scores – were also only 19th out of 28 European countries reviewed.

Road Rage in the UK?

It’s possible that our lifestyle could have something to do with the way we drive.
The survey by Ikano Bank found that Brits are second only to the Italians when it comes to getting heated on the road – with Swedes the least likely to feel angry emotions when they get behind the wheel.

In fact, three in five UK drivers stated they regularly felt impatient when driving, with two in five claiming to often feel angry. Interestingly, women were also more likely to report feeling stressed in their vehicle (55%) than men (47%).

If we compare these figures to Sweden, where only three in ten drivers admitted to regularly getting angry in the car and 48% to feeling impatient, we can see a fairly significant difference between the two nations’ emotions when getting behind the wheel. Stress levels also appeared to be lower, with 50% of women and 37% of men affected. 

Astonishingly though, Swedish drivers actually spend the most amount of time stuck in traffic than any other nation on average – almost half claim to spend more than four hours in traffic jams each week, and 11% spending more than ten! This is much higher than in the UK where the figures are 13% and 1% respectively.

UK City Breakdown

So where do we find the worst road rage in the UK? According to the regional breakdown, it’s Newcastle motorists, where 41% admit to regularly feeling angry. This is followed closely by Sheffield (40%) and Manchester and Cardiff (both 39%).

Liverpool on the other hand, was found to be the calmest driving city, with only 16% regularly feeling angry, followed by Bristol (27%) and Nottingham (31%).

road rage prevalent in the uk

Stay calm on the road

So perhaps we should take a leaf out of Sweden’s books. Often admired for being a nation with an excellent work-life balance and a focus on family life, it’s perhaps unsurprising that they feel the least anger when they drive with that kind of commute – despite often dealing with high levels of traffic!

It’s important though that we try our best not to let stress affect us when we get behind the wheel. Allowing road rage to cloud your judgment and concentration could have very dangerous consequences, so try to keep a clear head whenever you step into your vehicle.

Whatever you do, don’t let insurance be another reason to feel stressed - make sure you’re fully covered should you find yourself in any kind of accident. You can compare and buy through comparethemarket.com.

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