A survey conducted by the insurer AXA Winterthur reveals the driving behaviours that most annoy Swiss.
The act most likely to lead to road rage is following too close. Of the 1,200 people surveyed, 60.4% said they were often or very often annoyed by drivers who didn’t follow at a safe distance. Second on the list was using a mobile device at the wheel. 54.7% said they were often or very often annoyed by this.
Other behaviours that flared a percentage of tempers often or very often were: motorists forcing their way in after passing (54.1%), forgetting to indicate at intersections or when passing (49.1%), driving on the left of the motorway when not passing (46%), unpredictable lane changing (43.1%), driving too slowly (41.4%), stopping suddenly (31.7%), driving too fast (29.6%), being blinded by bright headlights (27.1%), being flashed or tooted at (19.6%), taking off too slowly at traffic lights (18.6%), and eating or drinking at the wheel (13.2%).
From annoyance to accident
The most annoying behaviours align with those which lead to the most accidents. Over one third of accidents reported to AXA Winterthur are rear-end collisions. “These collisions are often caused by not respecting safe following distances and driver inattention”, said Bettina Zahnd, an accident researcher at the insurer. Those surveyed were well aware of the danger. 83% said following too closely on motorways was dangerous or very dangerous. “Another golden rule is to avoid being distracted by a phone or other device. In order to brake you need to have seen the danger and reacted. This happens in a fraction of a second. If the driver is not attentive they cannot react immediately, losing precious time and delaying braking”, said the researcher.
What is a safe distance?
At a speed of 80 km/h, the braking distance on a dry road is 25 to 33 metres. The two second rule is one short cut to working out the safe distance because it works at all speeds. It involves sighting a fixed point on the side of the road. The car immediately in front should pass this point a full two seconds before your car does. In some states in the US the recommended time is three seconds.
Percentages of those surveyed considering certain behaviours or conditions dangerous or very dangerous were: following too close (83%), poor visibility and fog (78.5%), heavy rain (71.5%), driving too fast (57.5%), unpredictable lane changing (56.7%), road works (37.3%), passing (33.3%), trucks (31.6%) and motorcyclists (30.4%).
And the top five most annoying aspects of city driving were: a lack of parking (49.8%), traffic density (39%), cyclists (32.8%), small parking spaces (27.1%), construction and diversions (25.6%).