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Aggressive overtaking forcing one in seven drivers to take evasive action

The figures have been revealed in a new survey by Brake and Direct Line, which also found that in the past year:

  • Four in five drivers (80%) have felt endangered by an overtaking manoeuvre, either of their own, their driver, or another vehicle.
  • Almost all drivers (94%) have witnessed a risky overtaking manoeuvre, and more than half (53%) see them monthly or more often.
  • One in five drivers (18%) admit they have themselves overtaken another vehicle when they were not certain if there were any hidden vehicles or hazards they could have hit during the manoeuvre.

When it comes to owning up to risky overtaking, it was most common among male and young drivers, with 21% of men and two in five (39%) 17-24 year olds admitting doing so when they weren’t sure the road ahead was clear. The figures for speeding paint a similar picture, with almost half of male drivers (44%) and more than half of young drivers (17-24; 56%) doing over 60mph on single carriageway country roads, compared with less than a third (31%) of women and two in five drivers (37%) overall. This tallies with the statistical evidence that young male drivers are involved in many more crashes than older and female drivers.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “We’re urging all drivers to avoid overtaking on country roads unless absolutely essential and 100% safe – that doesn’t include if you’re feeling impatient because someone in front is driving a few mph slower than you want to. In those situations, cool-headed and responsible drivers hang back and relax. We’re also urging drivers to stay well within speed limits, and slow right down for villages, bends, brows and bad weather, to protect themselves and others.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.