Drivers! Beware of your passengers!

Totalled Mazda

Drivers! Beware of your passengers!

Following a national research programme carried out by a leading insurer, writes motoring journalist, Iain Robertson, an insight to driver safety issues has arisen, which places the emphasis on a passenger’s shoulders..

None of us likes to read about fatalities in car crashes. The reports can be especially poignant, when young people are involved. Yet, the statistics are irrefutable. Although a desire to drive from an early age seems to be lessening in recent years, a factor aided by many teenagers indulging in (expensive) further education, the combination of over-excitement and freedom of mobility, allied to a lack of experience, can lead to problems.

Place a younger driver alone in a car and it will be the driving instructor’s voice that he, or she, will hear. However, accompany that driver with two, or three passengers of similar ages and a different scenario results. The driver’s desire to demonstrate independent skills and capabilities behind the wheel can lead to instances of bravado. However, it is not showing-off necessarily that can lead to bad situations.

According to the research, more than half of the young people questioned admitted that they had been in a car being driven at over the posted speed limit. More tellingly, around 36% of respondents highlighted that they would not request that the driver slow down, for fear of being branded a ’back seat driver.

Interestingly, 63% of young drivers suggested that, had they been asked to slow down, they would do so, while 31% of drivers aged over 45 years admitted that they probably would not, citing their ’experience’ as the primary reason. Amazingly, across all ages, 12% of passengers felt too embarrassed to ask a speeding driver to back-off, with 28% of them highlighting that they did not wish to be rude about their driver’s talents. How much of that is due to a perceived need to reach a destination, probably cost-effectively, regardless of attendant risks, was not a subject touched upon.

Issues related to ’machismo’ do rear their heads, not least when a female passenger asks a male driver to slow down (44%), while a male passenger is less likely to do so (31%) in similar circumstances. A female occupant making the request of a female driver is broadly similar (44%), although a male passenger making the same request of a female driver is markedly higher (58%). It appears that sex in a car assumes a different role.

Naturally, there are no such issues prevalent, when visiting a Mr Clutch Autocentre. The company’s friendly and welcoming staff treat all customers in the same professional manner. While the survey does not touch on the influence of well-maintained transport and its influence on RTAs, a better and more regularly maintained vehicle has a primary safety role to play. Mr Clutch can be trusted to provide the best possible service to its customers, young, or old.

As an intriguing post-script, around 45% of survey respondents stated that lateness for an appointment was their primary reason for speeding, while only 9% actually enjoyed exceeding the limits.