To find out how we truly feel when fellow drivers don’t say a simple thanks, we asked more than 1,400 UK drivers to spill the beans.
It may be a regular occurrence, but it turns out that not being thanked makes us seethe. More than 80% of Brits get angry when not being thanked by other drivers when they’ve given way, and it’s younger drivers who feel the most aggrieved. 88% of drivers under 24 said they feel some anger when they’re not thanked, and nearly 60% describe the feeling either ‘very angry’ or ‘somewhat angry’.
Those aged 55 and over are the most chilled out driving age group. Although more than 73% of drivers aged 55+ said they feel some level of anger by not being thanked, just a little over 5% agree that they feel ‘very angry’ when not being thanked.
Women are more likely to feel anger in this situation than men; 10.03% of female drivers said they feel ‘very angry’ when asked how angry they get when people don’t thank them for giving way. This compares to just 8.2% of men.
The sun, sea and sand must have somewhat of a calming effect as you’ll find the least irritated drivers in Plymouth. A little over two thirds of drivers said they felt anger when they’re not thanked for giving way to other drivers. Drivers in Belfast are also a little less likely to be enraged, with 71.43% of drivers reporting anger from a lack of manners.
It may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but nearly 11% of drivers - that’s one person in nine - said that not being thanked made them angrier than being cheated on.
Avoiding spoilers has become part and parcel of modern life, and being told a spoiler can literally ruin your favourite TV show and drives people up the wall. However, a lack of basic manners on the road seemingly makes some of us angrier than having a spoiler revealed to us. More than one person in four (27%) gets more irate after not being thanked, than having the ending of a TV show revealed to us.
Nearly 30% of people also said they feel more anger than discovering the person in the loo before them has only left one sheet on the toilet roll, and a similar number (28.93%) said that dirty dishes in the sink made them less furious.
It may be a huge issue for drivers, but it’s not just basic manners for giving way that gets us mad. Nearly 70% feel anger when they’re not acknowledged for saying thank you. This doesn’t appear to be a new issue, though; older and potentially more experienced drivers are less angered by people not acknowledging their thank you. This increases as we move down the age groups, and as such, drivers under 25 are most likely to see red.
Just like when they’re not thanked for giving way, women are slightly more irritated – 70.93% of female drivers feel anger when they’re not acknowledged. This compares to a little over 67% of men who answered the same.
With it being such a contentious issue, we decided to explore people’s feelings further and delved into the nitty gritty. The top open responses include ‘Growling under my breath’, ‘Praying for them’, and ‘Calling them an ignorant #$!?##!!!’.
British people are known for sarcasm, so it’s no surprise that saying ‘You’re welcome’ in a sarcastic tone, laughing and sighing are also popular responses to driver etiquette ignorance. However, our favourite open response is ‘I tell myself it’s okay’, because let’s face it, it really will be okay.
Car insurance expert Joel Kempson says: “Judging by the responses, we know that driving etiquette is one of those things that gets everyone talking and truly unleashes emotion. That said, no matter how good and polite a driver we think we are, in reality, there probably are times when we forget to say thank you - despite it driving us mad.
“So if you’re confronted with a seemingly ungrateful motorist across the wheel from you, try to remember it might well be that they are simply forgetful, rather than intentionally rude.”
We asked Censuswide to conduct a survey of 1,462 people between 19.05.2021 and 21.05.2021.
Specific percentages available upon request.