Parents blamed for youngsters’ driving styles

Two in five (39 per cent) young drivers say that watching their parents’ attitude to motoring has taught them their bad habits, erratic style and anger behind the wheel.

Research by the Norwich Union found that road rage is most likely to occur among inexperienced young drivers aged 18 to 29, with three in five (61 per cent) admitting to personality changes behind the wheel. Top of the list of annoyances are reckless driving (82 per cent), slow motorists (69 per cent) and traffic jams (49 per cent) which result in the drivers flashing their lights, swearing, shouting or making rude gestures.

Nigel Bartram at Norwich Union said: "With more and more congestion on UK roads and driving becoming an increasingly stressful experience, it’s no wonder road rage is more widespread than ever."

Nick Copland, driver behaviour analyst and founder of MotorKarma.co.uk who teamed up with Norwich Union to analyse the findings, commented: "Children spend a lot of time in the car with their parents and the research shows the impact our parents’ behaviour behind the wheel can have on our own driving.

"Children pick up many of their parents’ habits when they become adults themselves and driving is clearly no different – that’s why parents should lead by example behind the wheel and try not to give in to road rage."

With the summer holidays approaching, men especially should beware since 64 per cent of them have given in to road rage at some time. Women, who are more likely to panic at others’ reactions, only had 55 per cent admit to reacting badly themselves. Older drivers, however, are the least likely to get angered by other drivers – with only 15 per cent saying that they had experienced road rage.

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