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Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Posted
20 NOVEMBER 2023
6 min read
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UK road rage report

More than two in three (​69.5%) drivers in the UK report experiencing road rage, with over one in 10 (​12%) admitting it’s a weekly occurrence for them.

In light of these statistics, our research reveals the nation’s road rage hotspots, the most common sources of driver frustration, and the number of motorists who may be at risk of being fined for their road rage responses. We’ve also shared some tips for reducing anger while on the road, to help keep you and other drivers safe and avoid penalties.

The most common causes of road rage

The most common cause of road rage is when ​​other drivers do not indicate, with ​26.9% of those surveyed saying this is their most frequent frustration. ​Tailgating comes in close second (​26.6%), followed by ​being cut off (​21.6%), ​slow driving (​17.3%) and ​merging at the last minute (​15.6%).

Among young drivers (​aged 17 to 24),​ slow driving is the number one source of anger on the road (27.6%). Older motorists, on the other hand, are more likely to cite ​tailgating as the most infuriating scenario, with over a third (34.5%) of drivers ​aged 55+ and ​30.1% of those ​aged 45 to 54 agreeing on this.

Rank Scenario % of drivers who gave this response
1 Lack of indication 26.9%
2 Tailgating 26.9%
3 Being cut off 21.6%
4 Slow driving 17.3%
5 Merging at last minute 15.6%
6 Middle lange hogging 15.4%
7 Car pulling into a road with no space & thus blocking it 14.4%
8 Overtaking on the inside 13.4%
9 Speeding 13.2%
10 Cyclists 13.1%

UK road rage capitals

Over three-quarters (​​75.9%) of drivers in ​​London admit to experiencing road rage, making the UK’s capital, the country’s number one road rage hotspot. This is no surprise considering ​​our previous research revealed it to be the most stressful and confusing UK city to drive in, thanks to the high volume of traffic and heavy congestion.

​​​Nottingham ranks as the city with the second-highest road rage (​​75.5%), followed by ​Sheffield (​73.3%), ​Cardiff (​​73.1%) and ​Plymouth (​72.2%).

Meanwhile, northern cities ​Newcastle (​52.8%) and ​Liverpool (​59.2%) have the lowest rates of road rage in the country, of the cities analysed.

Rank City % of drivers who experience road rage
1 London 75.9%
2 Nottingham 75.5%
3 Sheffield 73.3%
4 Cardiff 73.1%
5 Plymouth 72.2%
6 Manchester 70.7%
7 Belfast 69.8%
8 Birmingham 69.5%
9 Brighton 69.4%
10 Leeds 68%

Four in five UK drivers risk being fined for their behaviour during road rage

More than two in three (​ ​69.5%) UK drivers experience road rage — but how many of us are aware of the potential penalties for acting on our anger behind the wheel?

​​​Although road rage itself is not currently an offence in UK law, you can be fined for displaying certain road rage behaviours. Our survey found that over four in five drivers (​83.8%) aren’t aware they can be fined for ​​shouting out of their window, which may be considered ​​careless and inconsiderate driving in violation of ​rule 147 of the Highway Code. If caught, this angry behaviour could result in an ​unlimited fine and three to nine penalty points.

Another ​75.5% of drivers risk being fined for ​​honking at another driver as a result of road rage. ​Rule 112 of the Highway Code states that ​​the horn must only be used to warn other drivers of your presence and should never be sounded aggressively, and violating this rule could earn you a ​Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £1,000.

Finally, just under half (​​47.9%) of drivers mistakenly believe they can’t be fined for ​tailgating another road user. In reality, this goes against ​​rule 126 of the Highway Code, and can lead to a ​​£100 fine and three penalty points for ​driving without due care and attention.

Road rage behaviour % of drivers who don't think they can be fied for this behaviour
Shouting out your window 83.8%
Honking at another driver 75.5%
Tailgating another road user 47.9%

Expert tips on how to avoid anger while driving

Keeping safe whilst driving is of super important and that’s why you should do everything you can to avoid a raged response whilst on the road, especially if you want to avoid being fined.

To help out here is some advice for drivers on how to de-escalate anger while behind the wheel:

  1. ​​​Maintain concentration

    There can be a multitude of distractions whilst driving, from radios to passengers but do be sure to try and minimise the impact of these as much as possible whilst driving and give the road your complete attention. This will help enable you to be more vigilant of other drivers and avoid any sudden surprises.
  2. Make sure you’re well-rested

    Driving while tired can lead to distractions and irritability, making it dangerous for you and other road users. If you’ve had a stressful day at work or are driving long distances, always take breaks when you feel fatigued to ensure safety on the road.
  3. Take a moment before you react

    Whenever you're faced with a situation that might make you feel like reacting impulsively, remember to take a moment to step back and reflect. By doing so, you'll be able to respond in a more thoughtful and effective way.
  4. Be forgiving and learn to let go

    We can all make mistakes whilst driving and with that said, it is important to have a forgiving attitude towards other road users and let go of frustrations to avoid overreacting in extreme situations.
Author image Julie Daniels

What our expert says...

“To reduce road rage and drive safely, it’s vital to give the road your full attention to avoid any sudden surprises. Things like glaring lights and radios can be very distracting, so make sure you are paying full attention and be vigilant of other drivers. Additionally, being well-rested is essential to avoid irritability and distraction and that’s why it is important to take breaks, particularly on long drives.   
 
Remember that even if you are completely switched on at the wheel, other drivers might not be. Be sure to remain present and if an incident where you might want to react occurs, take a moment to remember, that no driver is perfect — being forgiving and letting go of frustrations towards other road users is the key to safer driving." 

- Julie Daniels, car insurance expert

Methodology and sources

The survey data collected in this study is taken from a survey of 2,014 UK drivers aged 17+, carried out in October 2023.