Driver Etiquette (Survey)

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We surveyed our customers to find out what drivers appreciate the most from other drivers when on the road.

driver etiquette header

Key Findings:

  • Over 1 in 5 choose to flash their headlights to say thanks. According to Rule 110 of the Highway Code, “Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there… Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users.” If caught, drivers can be fined up to £1,000.
  • Drivers appreciate other drivers staying a safe distance behind the most.
  • Over one in six drivers most appreciate when other drivers say thank you when they’ve made a nice gesture.
  • Drivers still prefer the classic wave and thumbs up to show thanks rather than flashing hazards or headlights.
  • 1 in 20 drivers say they never thank people on the road.

What Do Drivers Appreciate The Most When On The Road?

Here at National Tyres and Autocare, we thought we’d put a survey together that focuses on the positives for a change. We see a lot of surveys that are focused on “worst drivers” or things drivers hate on the road, so we thought, let's flip things on their head.

We’ve compiled a survey to find out what 1,000 of our customers appreciate when on the road, in particular, what they appreciate the most from other drivers.

What Do Drivers Appreciate The Most From Other Drivers?

driver habits

As you can see from the results, the one thing that drivers appreciate the most is when the car following them keeps a safe distance behind. Tailgating is one of drivers' pet hates when on the road, so it’s no shock that one in five drivers have named it top of their ‘most appreciated’ list.

Michael Bourne, Group Marketing & eCommerce Director at National Tyres states that “Tailgating relates to the act of driving too close to the vehicle in front. This is seriously dangerous, as doing so doesn’t provide the following vehicle enough time to react to the one ahead.

Aside from the safety aspects, drivers can also be penalised for tailgating. Police can issue on-the-spot fixed penalties of £100 and potentially three points for inconsistent lane use. That can increase to £2,500 if a driver is charged for careless driving or driving without care and attention.

When driving, you should always allow a two-second gap to the car in front, as a bare minimum. Sometimes leaving a much bigger gap is needed when conditions are poor as it’ll take you longer to stop.”

In second place is when drivers indicate well ahead of time. This allows cars following enough time to slow down and assess their surroundings. It also prevents sudden braking that can lead to an accident.

Surprisingly, closely following the top two most appreciated, is that drivers really like it when other drivers show thanks after they’ve done a good deed, whether that be allowing someone into their lane or letting someone out onto a bust road. 

Another interesting finding was that both drivers ‘offering unexpired parking tickets’ and drivers ‘offering parking space’ ranked the lowest on the survey. 

Overall, we feel this shows how important it is to drivers that others around them show greater awareness on the road, especially from a safety aspect, as leaving adequate space behind a car and indicating ahead of time are both really important things you can do on the road to help others stay safe.

How Do Drivers Prefer To Say Thanks?

  • 1 in 20 drivers say they never thank people on the road.
  • Almost 1 in 5 drivers prefer to use hazard lights to say thanks to another driver.
  • Fewer than 1 in 10 opt for the indicator side to side options.
  • Over 1 in 5 choose to flash their headlights to say thanks.
  • 1 in 3 choose the classic wave to say thanks.
  • Over 1 in 6 love a good thumbs up.

driver etiquette

After asking what drivers appreciate the most on the road, we thought it would be fun to ask our customers about how they show thanks when behind the wheel.

Ranking at the top of the table, drivers still prefer to simply wave (30%) but also high up on the list, in second place are drivers opting to flash their lights to say thanks. 

Flashing hazard lights is definitely becoming more popular, coming in third place on our leaderboard, with almost one in five drivers saying they prefer this gesture over a wave.

Whilst it may be a quick and simple way to signal to a driver that you are thankful for their thoughtfulness, it is actually something you shouldn’t do. According to Rule 110 of the Highway Code, “Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there… Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users.” If caught, drivers can be fined up to £1,000.

Perhaps the most surprising stat of them all is when it came to drivers saying they don’t give thanks. 1 in 10 drivers agreed to this statement, saying they don’t want to take their hands off the wheel. 

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