October 25 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
It is not a title that we can be proud of, but drivers in our region have been identified as the worst in the country.
The government announced last week that driverless cars would be allowed on public roads from January next year.
UK cities have been invited to compete to host one of three trials of the technology and have until the start of October to register an interest.
Trials have already been carried out in other countries, with the US states of California, Nevada and Florida all approving tests of the vehicles.
And last year, the first public road test of a driverless car was carried out in Japan by Nissan.
A study carried out by Norwich-based insurance company Aviva revealed people from our area were the least safe behind the wheel. It calculated that our motorists were 10% “less safe” than those in Greater London.
Drivers from the capital came top of the list – in what may come as a surprise to many from our region who have ever driven there.
We asked readers on Twitter what they thought the worst driving habits were:
Last week I was behind a car that went 40mph everywhere. Through a 30 and 60. Mental.
Pushy drivers, front fog lights on in clear weather, poor observation.
People driving expensive German saloons, who are totally blind to motorcyclists.
Been driving here since I got my licence in 2002. The thing I notice most now is people not indicating!
The too high speed at which too many drivers travel along narrow country lanes with poor sight lines. Taking bends too quickly with no thought of possible oncoming traffic.
The study used an app and smartphone technology to monitor motorists’ driving styles. Researchers analysed more than four million miles of driving, by almost 20,000 motorists.
A spokesman for Aviva said the app was able to give individuals scores out of ten for their driving, but he could not specify which bad habits in particular made drivers in the east of England perform badly.
However, one factor given by the company for our region’s place at the foot of the table was the nature of our largely rural, winding roads. One local motorist who carries out his own research into bad driving is Tony Sutton, from Wymondham. Mr Sutton has fitted a camera to his dashboard and logs incidents of poor motoring on his website www.dashcamvideo.co.uk. He said he did not feel our motorists were really worse than those from elsewhere in the UK, but said he often encountered bad driving, singling out young and old motorists as those most responsible.
“I have driven in France and they were better than drivers in the UK. If I was narrowing down driving offences, the most common is jumping red lights.”
Following the results of the survey, Becky Murphy spent 10 minutes observing driving behaviour at St Stephens roundabout in Norwich. This is what she saw:
■ Did not indicate: 15 drivers.
■ In the wrong lane: 5 drivers.
■ Pulling out in front of another driver: 3 drivers.
■ Making late lane changes: 2 drivers.
Here’s what some of you had to say:
• Elaine Purcell, 48, a science technician from Norwich said: “There are bad drivers around here. As a cyclist I bike a few miles a day and I am always cut up on roundabouts. Drivers just don’t seem to see cyclists.”
• Tom Coleman, 23, a PhD student from Suffolk living in Norwich, said: “I’m very surprised that East Anglia has the worst drivers in the country. But I suppose somewhere has to have the worst. I don’t see our region as being bad at driving though.”
• Derek Beakdon, retired, from Lowestoft said: “I wouldn’t say drivers in this region are any worse then those around the country. I would have thought the worst would have been in London.”
• Kirsty, a 21-year-old student from Norwich said: “I can’t really see why we’d have worse drivers than anywhere else. But I have seen someone go the wrong way round a roundabout in Colchester.”
But what do you think? Are drivers in East Anglia really the worst in the country? Or have you had worse experiences elsewhere?
Email reporter Catherine Morris-Gretton at firstname.lastname@example.org