Press release:

Nine million road users admit to running a red light

  • Millions of Brits are ignoring the rules of the road – with motorists (21%)[1] and cyclists (27%)[2] nearly as bad each other when it comes to running a red light in the past year
  • Three fifths (62%) of motorists[3] admit to having exceeded the speed limit in the past year, while half (55%) of cyclists say they have cycled on the pavement[4]
  • One in five (19%) pedestrians say they’ve crossed the road without looking both ways[5]
  • Despite these admissions, only a third (36%) of road users believe they have ever broken the Highway Code[6]
  • uSwitch.com calls for the Highway Code to be taught in schools, to prepare everyone for using our roads.

A fifth of motorists (21%) and a quarter (27%) of cyclists admit to running a red light in the past year, reveals new research from uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service[1].

Nearly two thirds (62%) of motorists admit to having ignored the speed limit in the past year, with nearly one in 10 (9%) having done so within the last 24 hours[3]. And, despite new rules which have doubled the penalty[7] for using your mobile phone while driving, one in six (29%) have done so in the last year[8].

Motorists are not the only road users to defy the rules of the road. Half (55%) of cyclists admit to illegally riding on the pavement[4] and almost half (47%) have cycled at night without a front and rear light on[9].

Even those on foot are taking their chances on the roads, as one in five (19%) pedestrians admit to putting themselves in harm’s way by crossing the road without looking both ways[5].

Despite this, only a third (36%) of Brits believe that they have broken the Highway Code. Worryingly over a quarter (28%) aren’t sure whether they have or not, highlighting a lack of understanding of road safety among British road users[6].

The majority (77%) of those surveyed believe that a better knowledge of the Highway Code would prevent road accidents[10] and eight in ten (81%) think that this process should begin in schools. They would welcome the introduction of a Highway Code course for children[11].

Rod Jones, insurance expert at uSwitch.com, says: “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.

“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.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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Notes to editors

Research carried out online with the uSwitch.com Consumer Opinion Panel in March 2018 amongst a sample of 2,005 UK adults.

  1. When road users who identified themselves as motorists were asked, ‘To the best of your knowledge when, if ever, did you last break the below Highway Code, by running a red light?’, 21% said they had in the past year, equalling 7.7 million people nationally.
  2. When road users who identified themselves as cyclists were asked, ‘To the best of your knowledge when, if ever, did you last break the below Highway Code, by running a red light?’, 27% said they had in the past year. When asked, ‘Which of the following types of road user do you identify as?’ 9% said they considered themselves both a cyclist and a motorist. These people have only been counted once in calculating the total number who have run a red light in the past year. So the total number of people who consider themselves to be cyclists and not motorists and answered they had run a red light equals 1.2 million people nationally.
  3. When motorists were asked, ‘To the best of your knowledge when, if ever, did you last break the below Highway Code, by not observing the speed limit?’, 62% said they had in the past year, 9% said they had the same day as surveyed.
  4. When cyclists were asked, ‘To the best of your knowledge when, if ever, did you last break the below Highway Code, by cycling on the pavement?’, 55% said they had in the past year.
  5. When road users who identified themselves as pedestrians were asked, ‘To the best of your knowledge when, if ever, did you last break the below Highway Code, by not looking both ways before crossing the road?’, 19% said they had in the past year.
  6. When asked, ‘To the best of your knowledge, have you ever broken the recommendations of the Highway Code?’, 36% said no.
  7. https://www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law
  8. When motorists were asked, ‘To the best of your knowledge when, if ever, did you last break the below Highway Code, by using a mobile phone without a hands-free kit?’, 16% said they had in the past year.
  9. When cyclists were asked, ‘To the best of your knowledge when, if ever, did you last break the below Highway Code, by cycling at night without a front and rear light on?’, 27% said they had in the past year.
  10. When asked how far they agree with the statement ‘better knowledge of the Highway Code amongst all road users would prevent accidents’, 77% said agree or strongly agree.
  11. When asked how far they agree with the statement ‘schools should offer a course on The Highway Code to students to help prevent accidents’, 81% said agree or strongly agree.

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

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