Young drivers are twice as likely as the average motorist to use smartphones to follow social media and text while at the wheel, an alarming new study reveals today.
The so-called millennial generation aged 18 to 34 – those who became adult from around the beginning of the 21st century – are so addicted to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat that they risk prosecution and potentially fatal accidents to keep their social media profiles fresh, it says.
The poll of 2,000 adults by Privilege Car Insurance revealed that a quarter (23 per cent) of 18 to 34-year olds are willing to have a peak at their phones while driving, just in case there’s a post or like they haven’t seen. That is more than double the average rate of 11 per cent.
Millennials are so addicted to social media and keeping up to do date on their smartphones that they’re twice as likely to check them at the wheel than all other ages
The obsession has also led to 28 per cent of millennials checking and sending text messages while driving too, compared to the average among all motorists of 15 per cent.
This is despite the threat of six penalty points on their licence, being a danger to others on the road and the risk of a fine of up to £1,000.
An alarming six per cent admit they send messages while at the wheel every single day, while five per cent check their social media daily while in the driver’s seat, compared to the average three per cent and two per cent among all drivers.
The millennials’ poor driving habits and behaviour isn’t just restricted to phone use.
Some one in six (17 per cent) have got into a blazing row with a passenger when they should be concentrating on the road, compared to the average one in ten (11 per cent).
And one in eight (13 per cent) have almost been involved in a crash because they weren’t focused enough, compared to one in ten (nine per cent) of all drivers who have experienced a ‘near miss’.
A third of younger drivers (33 per cent) admit to having slowed down at traffic because they wanted to ‘rubber-neck’ at an accident, compared to the average one in five (19 per cent)
Common Bad Habits While Driving (all ages)
1. Accelerating to get past an amber light before it turns red – 56%
2. Eating or drinking – 50%
3. Refusing to let people in when in a queue of traffic – 45%
4. Driving with dog(s) in the car without properly securing them – 38%
5. Indicating too late before changing lanes or turning – 32%
6. Fiddling with personal belongings – 31%
7. Getting distracted fiddling with sat-nav – 27%
8. Failing to indicate at all before changing lanes or turning – 26%
9. Checking hair, make-up or appearance in the mirror – 24%
10. Not checking the mirror before signalling – 22%
11. Deliberately approaching a roundabout in the wrong lane because it has a shorter queue – 20%
12. = Having a long (hands-free) phone-conversation – 19%
12. = Cutting in front of other drivers – 19%
14. Sending or checking text messages – 15%
15. Checking social media or other apps – 11%
A quarter of millennials (24 per cent) have overtaken a cyclist too closely, compared to 18 per cent of all drivers.
And 11 per cent of younger drivers have cut in front of another car compared to the average of five per cent.
Meanwhile, four per cent of 18 to 34-year olds revealed they have actually hit another motor in a car park and driven off without leaving a note, compared to the national average of two per cent.
However, it’s not just millennials who have developed bad habits on the roads.
Some four per cent of all British drivers admit they are actually not very good at driving, with almost one million of them saying they are so bad, that friends and family think they’re a danger.
And three per cent of Britons admit the roads would be a safer place if they were not driving, with almost half a million confessing they shouldn’t be allowed a licence.
Six per cent have actually taken their eyes off the road to have a chat with a passenger in the back seat, while a third (34 per cent) admitted to having attempted to eat or drink while driving in the last 12 months.
Other poor habits were uncovered by the research.
A third of women (33 per cent) confess they have used the rear-view mirror to check their hair and makeup on the go, with the same number of women fiddling with possessions such as bags, while on the move.
And one in ten women admit their partners hate having to be a passenger in their car.
One in ten motorists admit to hogging the middle or outside lane of a motorway or dual carriageway even when there is nothing in the inside lane.
A similar proportion (10 per cent) have set off in the dark and forgotten to turn on their headlights, while 11 per cent have lost concentration at traffic lights and failed to move off when they turned green.
An alarming four per cent even admitted they have driven through a red light.
Charlotte Fielding, head of Privilege Car Insurance said: ‘We all develop bad driving habits, many of which can make us less safe on the road, but it’s particularly worrying to see the impact of social media on our driving.
‘We want to encourage all drivers to be as safe as possible, taking care of themselves, passengers and others on the road, and this includes ensuring concentration levels remain high.
‘Hopefully by identifying some of our worst habits, we can create more awareness among drivers, which will help to eliminate them.’
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