FIRST IT was tailgating; then it was slow drivers. Now the mobile phone is said to be the main cause of road rage. A survey of 2,000 British drivers found that those spotted using a mobile phone while behind the wheel are most likely to spark road rage incidents.
The research, conducted by Carcraft, a used-car supermarket, found that more than three quarters (76%) of us become angry when we see other drivers talking on their mobile phone rather than paying attention to the road ahead.
Recent research suggests that one in four accidents on British roads is linked to mobile phone use. Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, recently vowed to clamp down on the practice, saying: “We’ve got to change the culture on phone usage by drivers. It destroys lives.”
Using a mobile phone when driving is illegal and can result in an automatic penalty of three points on a driver’s licence and a fine of £100. Although hands-free devices are permitted, police have the power to stop drivers if they feel they are distracted and not in control of their vehicle.
The survey also suggested that other aspects of dangerous driving, such as tailgating and failing to use indicators properly, can spark road rage incidents on UK roads.
Britain’s pothole epidemic was also given as one of the top five causes of road rage, although it is unclear how drivers vent their frustration after damaging a tyre or wheel.
The survey suggested that motorists in Leicester were most likely to see red when behind the wheel, with drivers from Brighton and Bristol close behind. Nottingham had some of the most relaxed drivers on the road.
Colin Houlihan, the chief executive of Carcraft, said: “Driving for many is no longer an enjoyable experience and is now just a means of getting from A to B.
“It’s particularly interesting that the typical causes of road rage such as roadworks and middle-lane driving are lower down the list. However, we’re sure the growing menace of potholes will only infuriate more motorists as we approach winter and the conditions of British roads continue to worsen.”