Millions of Brits have broken the rules of the road, according to new research from uSwitch. And motorists and cyclists are almost as bad as each other — with 21% of drivers and 27% of cyclists admitting that they have jumped a red traffic light in the past year.
All road users taking risks
Most motorists admit to breaking the speed limit, with 62% saying they have done so in the past year and 9% doing so in the last day. One in six drivers also admit that they have used their mobile phone behind the wheel in the past 12 months, despite the stringent laws and increased penalties that were introduced in 2017.
Cyclists also admit they don’t stick to the rules of the road, with 55% saying they have illegally ridden on the pavement and almost half (47%) saying they have cycled at night without using a front and rear light.
Even pedestrians have their part to play in road chaos, with one in five (19%) saying they have put themselves in harm’s way by crossing the road without looking both ways.
Highway Code confusion
Despite all of these admissions, only a third (36%) of British road users – motorists, cyclists and pedestrians – believe that they have broken the Highway Code. Over a quarter (28%) aren’t sure whether they have broken the Highway Code or not, highlighting a worrying lack of understanding of the rules of the road.
Rod Jones, insurance expert at uSwitch, said “It’s clear there’s a lack of understanding of the Highway Code among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, and the consequences could be fatal, even before you think about the financial and legal risks.”
Early education encouraged
More than three quarters (77%) of those surveyed think a better knowledge of the Highway Code could help to prevent road accidents. An even larger portion of the respondents (81%) said education of the Highway Code should begin in schools.
uSwitch’s insurance expert said: “It’s essential that we reacquaint ourselves with the rules to ensure everyone stays safe while on the road. Even as pedestrians we have a responsibility for the safety of others and will often face the same risks — which can be complicated and worthy of better understanding from an early age.
“Positively, there is a general consensus that more needs to be done in terms of Highway Code education. Starting this with school lessons on road safety is a strong forward step to making our highways safer for everyone, whether they are behind the wheel, on two wheels or walking the streets.”