Judgemental motorists' driving affected by prejudices

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Judgemental drivers are letting their own annoyances and opinions on other cars on the road affect how they drive

Millions of drivers let their opinions on other drivers' car colour, type, and cleanliness affect how they drive.

A new study released today by Continental Tyres revealed that 45% of Brits allow their own prejudices determine how courteous or aggressively they act towards other road users.

Some 2,000 drivers were surveyed and over a third admitted they allow their assumptions to affect their driving.

The research also revealed that we're twice as likely to not let someone out at a junction if they're in a 'flash' car because "they think they're it".

However, the biggest reason why drivers won't let someone pull out is if they spot them using a mobile phone while driving.

Six in 10 also said they get agitated if they see a sticker for a rival sports team on a vehicle.

The top 10 types least likely to be let in at a junction are:

  • Anyone using a mobile phone
  • Performance cars
  • Drivers towing a caravan
  • 'Flash' cars
  • 4x4s
  • Taxis
  • Learner drivers
  • Buses
  • Vans
  • Pensioners

But while motorists freely admit their own prejudices, it seems we're less bothered about what others think of our cars. Over half expected to be stereotyped but only one in seven said it actually affects their choice of car.

And, on occasion, it can count in our favour; 27% said they make an effort to be courteous to drivers in the same car make and model.

Mark Griffiths, spokesman for Continental Tyres, said: "It's alarming that 34% of drivers will change their driving style based on a prejudice about something as unimportant as how clean a vehicle is.

"Keen observation is vital for road safety and this study was part of our commitment to making driving safer, while trying to understand the ways motorists behave.

"We might form opinions of people based on issues like appearance, though for that to lead to more aggressive driving is dangerous.

"Rather than aesthetic and other non-risk affecting features, impetus should be placed on factors like driving behaviour, car safety and tyre condition as these are the things that really impact on safety."

The survey also revealed split opinions when it comes to hybrid and electric vehicles; one in three believe owners are right to consider the environment while an equal number describe them as 'tree-huggers' or 'self-righteous'.

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