30 Jun 2015

Tailgaters get drivers' blood boiling

1:59 pm on 30 June 2015

Tailgating has been voted the most unpopular driving habit, ahead of people who don't indicate and drivers who text.

Pollster Colmar Brunton asked 1000 New Zealanders what type of drivers they most disliked.

Tailgaters were least popular, with half those surveyed including them in their top three most disliked driver types and just over a fifth (21 percent) considering them the worst of all.

Non-indicators and texters were not far behind. A total of 42 percent put non-indicators in their top three, followed by texters on (32 percent) crawlers (28 percent) and cellphone callers (26 percent).

Traffic north of Wellington.

Traffic on a North Island motorway. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Asked which three types of driver they most dislike, the 10 most popular responses were:

  • The tailgater (someone who follows too close behind you) : 49%
  • The non-indicator (someone who does not indicate) : 42%
  • The texter (someone who texts while driving) : 32%
  • The crawler (someone who drives too slowly) : 28%
  • The cellphone caller (someone who talks on their phone) : 26%
  • The cut off (someone who cuts you off) : 24%
  • The right lane hog (driving slowly in the passing lane) : 21%
  • The fullbeamer (someone with blindingly bright lights) : 20%
  • The weasel (someone who tries to sneak into traffic) : 16%
  • The light gambler (someone who ignores traffic lights) : 14%

When asked about the most annoying in-car behaviours for drivers or passengers, almost 80 percent included back seat drivers in their top three.

Colmar Brunton chief executive Jacqueline Farman said the survey results indicated New Zealand drivers found it a lot easier to identify shortcomings in other drivers than in themselves, as is human nature.

"When confronted with a list of fairly common annoying driver behaviours, half of those surveyed claimed none of these described their own driving."

"Those over 40 years old are less likely than younger drivers to admit their faults which could be interpreted as the older generation thinking they are okay but disapproving of the way younger drivers behave on the roads."

A total of 38 percent said New Zealanders were worse drivers than their counterparts overseas, with just 21 percent of the view that drivers here were superior. The over 40s were once again the leading group of critics.

The survey had a margin of error of +/-3.1 percent.