Our research reveals the best decision making drivers by age group and location

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Our research reveals the best decision making drivers by age group and location

Our research reveals the drivers best at decision making in the UK by age group and location and shows that Londoners are most likely to be involved in crashes while out on the road in the capital.

Decision Time Table

It found that over half of UK drivers (54%) still wouldn’t stop safely to make a telephone call if running late for an appointment, despite the widespread crackdown on drivers using handsets when behind the wheel.

These figures come from our latest research conducted alongside The Driving Doctor, Dr Paul Ripley, in which 2,000 UK drivers were surveyed to review a number of unique driving situations and choose the option they would take.

The survey results show that 45 – 54-year-olds are most likely to balance speed and accuracy in their driving decisions. When it comes to driving in the period following an accident, over 55s are most likely to alter their driving habits in an attempt to avoid further incidents.

Decision Time Graph
The Decision Time Quiz was designed to test motorists’ speed and accuracy across a range of driving scenarios and found that it was mainly the younger age groups – 17-24 and 25-34 – who were the least accurate.

Drivers in Scotland are best at using their mirrors

Government data shows that over 25,000 people are killed or severely injured on UK roads each year2, highlighting that the decisions road users make every day are vital and indeed can be the difference between life and death.

Drivers in Scotland are best at using their mirrors, while drivers in the West Midlands revealed themselves to be most confident, with 79% of them feel able to handle a skidding car in wet weather.

Perhaps most worryingly, 25% of Londoners – the most in the UK – wouldn’t see an issue with driving around at night without any lights on to warn other road users of their presence.

Adam Clarke, Managing Director at RIAS, says: “Our roads have never been more congested and that means our driving skills need to evolve constantly”. Speaking of older road users, he said: “While giving up driving may be a tough decision, honest self-assessment is vital in ensuring the safety of both yourself and other road users.”

Clearly, accidents are commonplace, which is evident from making short journeys on the UK’s increasingly congested streets and motorways. However, many of them could be avoided by making better driving decisions, with some drivers clearly in need of brushing up on their driving theory and assessing their driving style.


Driving Doctor’s top tips on making safe decisions

The dangers of making snap decisions, but also dangers of being too slow to respond to a situation, are the main problems road users face. Paul Riley is the CEO of The Driving Doctor and has been training drivers for over forty years. Here are his top tips for making safer decisions when you are on the road:


  1. If you are in a temper and allow your emotions to rule the roost (called the human factors) – your decisions will always be unbalanced, uncalculated and therefore, potentially unsafe. Control your feelings and never base decisions on emotion alone. These things matter deeply and safety must always be at the top of your decision making rule set.

  2. Work on your visual scanning (observation) skills and look further down the road, aiming the eyes high and keep them moving to spot potential dangers on the road earlier. Keep checking your mirrors to help rearward awareness and use peripheral vision to spot side turns, junctions and places where roads meet, merge and cross. The safe rule in decision making is never allow potential danger to escalate into an actual threat to your safety. Look, think, asses and decide using the safest option at all times.

  3. When we are in a rush and late for an appointment we tend to allow our attitude and behaviour to dictate the decision making processes behind the wheel. This is a recipe for disaster and about as unsafe as it gets as you must respond with a planned approach. Recognise the way that human factors affect safe decision making.

  4. A key decision making rule is, if in doubt, hold back. Never accelerate into danger, only away from it. Driving into hazards, even slightly too quickly, carries both risks and potential consequences. Always slow down early to control the safety in any situation – this is important if you have close following traffic. Assess and keep assessing as you get nearer to hazards as this helps safer decision making in most situations.

Read more about staying safe on the road in the RIAS blog or take our Decision Time Quiz to see how you compare to other drivers in your age group and across the country.

1. https://www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law
2. A total of 25,160 people were killed or seriously injured (KSI casualties) in the year ending September 2016, up by 6 per cent from the previous year: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/588773/quarterly-estimates-july-to-september-2016.pdf

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