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Back off! Tailgating beeps us off most: NRMA Survey

Author: Cie'Jai LeggettDate: 23 April 2012

Tailgaters have been branded as the biggest aggravators on our roads according to the NRMA's inaugural Courtesy Driver campaign launched today.

The survey of over 1,500 motorists in NSW and the ACT found tailgating (42%), not letting drivers merge into lanes (39%) and slow drivers hogging the right hand lane (36%) are the biggest bug bears for drivers.

Alarmingly, the NRMA survey found almost half (48%) of drivers that have been exposed to some form of discourteous driving or aggressive behavior from other drivers, feared for their safety. Over 40 per cent of drivers have been verbally abused and 21 per cent either threatened (14%) or physically abused (7%).

The survey found 69 per cent have been tailgated and over half (51%) had another driver intentionally cut in front of them.

The NRMA will today launch a grass-roots campaign to encourage drivers to be more courteous and to help reduce road rage. At nine locations across NSW and the ACT the public will be invited to upload 'courtesy messages' that will be broadcast on an electronic roadside sign. The best message or slogan will be adopted by the NRMA as part of a community education campaign.

The Courtesy Campaign is part of NRMA's commitment to the United Nations' Decade of Action for Road Safety.

The NRMA survey also found that over one-quarter (26%) of motorists who have driven overseas believe local drivers are less courteous that their counterparts overseas.

NRMA Motoring & Services President Wendy Machin said over 90 per cent of drivers waved to thank other drivers for letting them in.

"Being a courteous driver isn't just about us all feeling warm and fuzzy, it might just help reduce incidents of road rage and make our roads safer," Ms Machin said.

"We want drivers to be positive towards each other on the road and it can be as simple as the good old fashioned wave to say thank you when someone lets you in their lane or leaving plenty of room between you and the car in front of you.

"Over two-thirds of the people we surveyed believed that discourteous drivers behave the way they do because of a lack of concern for others and bad manners.

"We all know how frustrating it can be if someone is driving slowly in the right lane or they don't let others merge. Sadly, all too often an aggressive beep of the horn or a four letter word screamed out the window may escalate into a dangerous situation and spiral out of control.

"It's remarkable how quickly things can be defused by an apologetic wave if you've made a mistake that has affected another driver."

The NRMA survey also found:

  • Almost 30 per cent believed discourteous behavior occurred more during afternoon / early evening peak hour
  • More than 90 per cent claim they let other drivers in
  • Over three-quarters would give a courtesy wave after making a mistake
  • The over-whelming majority believe they are courteous drivers always or most of the time
  • Two-thirds believe other drivers are courteous most of the time

The NRMA will launch its courtesy campaign in the Sydney CBD today. Visit Courtesy on our roads for a full list of event locations.

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