Motoring misbehaviour – survey from GEM

Tailgating and not indicating are the most despised driving habits among UK road users, but GEM says that the lack of punishment for motoring misdemeanours can be just as frustrating.

GEM Motoring Assist surveyed UK drivers to find out what irritates them most when it comes to other motorists’ bad habits, and the findings reveal that two out of three most hate being tailgated. While not indicating before turning came second in the worst driving practices, and a lack of proper motorway lane use was voted third worst. Road-safety champions and award-winning breakdown cover company, GEM is concerned that these types of pet hates often go unpunished, and blames a lack in traffic police presence.

GEM’s CEO, David Williams MBE, comments: “Without enough traffic police officers addressing habits such as tailgating and not indicating, bad driving practice is seemingly starting to become more common. “Even though minor motoring misbehaviour seems less serious than certain other driving offences, it can be as equally dangerous. Although it is the role of the traffic police to enforce punishments, it is up to us all as road users to ensure that we ourselves avoid poor driving practice.”

For the full top 10 motoring misbehaviours visit GEM Motoring Assist.

Have a safe, enjoyable and courteous bank holiday drive

As thousands prepare for journeys of all descriptions over the bank holiday weekend, David Williams MBE, Vice-Chairman of the National Campaign for Courtesy and CEO of GEM Motoring Assist, wishes all drivers and passengers safe, enjoyable and courteous journeys.

“Taking a bit of extra time to prepare your car and plan your journey will help to ease the stress of travelling this weekend,” said David. “With more traffic likely to hit the roads during the bank holiday break, we strongly urge people to take the necessary precautions, and we hope that the tips below help with the planning.”

To find out how preparation can ensure a better experience for all, visit GEM Motoring Assist’s website for its bank holiday driving suggestions.

Kill the conversation

The National Campaign for Courtesy is again delighted to be working with Road Safety Champion GEM Motoring Assist to produce a ‘Courtesy Code’ for users of mobile phones.

Peter Foot, Chairman of the Campaign for Courtesy, said, “When you are out and about in places such as theatres, restaurants, trains, buses, libraries, art galleries, and many more, it is important to respect others when using your mobile phone. It is easy enough to do if we follow a few simple rules, and not only shows good manners but also makes situations more comfortable and pleasant for our fellow citizens.”

The Mobile Courtesy Code

  • Keep your voice down. Shouting is not necessary.
  • Speak quietly in public places such as buses or trains.
  • Try to text, or e-mail your communication to avoid speech that may disturb others.
  • Never leave your mobile on a table or desk at a meeting, or restaurant, even when it is on ‘vibrate’.
  • When using the phone to play electronic games, switch the sound off.
  • Never hold a phone conversation when carrying out another task with others.

David Williams MBE, Chief Executive of GEM Motoring Assist, is also concerned about the illegal use of phones by drivers and said, “The temptation to use your mobile while driving can be greatly reduced if you turn it off and keep it out of reach.

“Although it is important to keep a mobile phone with you in the car in case of an emergency situation it is illegal and dangerous to use a hand-held mobile phone and it should only be used when you have stopped your car in a safe place,” added David.

It has been announced by the Government that fixed penalty notices for illegally using a hand-held phone by drivers will increase from £60 to £100. In addition drivers will also receive 3 penalty points on their licence.

Research has shown that motorists who us a mobile phone while driving are four times more likely to have a crash and reaction times are around 50% slower for drivers holding a phone conversation.

For a free copy of the leaflet or to watch the short video, click Kill the Conversation.

Kill the conversation

GEM Motoring Assist’s video on the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.

For more useful information on courtesy and safety on the road, visit


Motorists on their mobiles: GEM mobile phone code for on the road

GEM Motoring AssistGEM Motoring Assist considers the mobile phone to be the most dangerous distraction on the road and produced a leaflet detailing a safety and courtesy code for motorists and mobile phones in conjunction with the National Campaign for Courtesy.

GEM CEO and National Campaign for Courtesy vice-chairman David Williams explains that the solution to this widespread problem is elusive: “in truth, most road safety professionals, police and the public have such mixed views…there could be more enforcement, but that is so costly and police numbers are being cut. Another option is bigger penalties, but culprits have to be caught first.”

Download the GEM Motoring Assist safety and courtesy code for motorists and mobile phones.

See more details at GEM Motoring Assist.

Are Motorists Becoming More Polite?

by Maria McCarthy

Are we responding to tougher economic times by becoming more caring towards our fellow drivers, asks motoring journalist Maria McCarthy?

motoring-articleWe’ve become used to thinking of the UK as being racked by road rage. Whether it’s traffic jams, boy racers, tailgaters, someone nipping into a parking space before us – the list of potential annoyances is endless. Scarcely a day goes past without us hearing of someone who responds to them in an over-the-top manner, whether that’s shouting and abuse, or actual violence.

Less aggressive

But according to a recent survey of 2,000 motorists carried out by car supermarket Carcraft, people are becoming less aggressive behind the wheel. According to the survey, 33 per cent of motorists said they smiled at other drivers when pushing into a queue or changing lanes, while 20 per cent use a friendly wave. But 30 per cent of motorists said they don’t push at all and are happy to wait until a space becomes available. And only 3 per cent admitted to losing their temper and swearing, with motorists aged 45 to 54 the worst offenders.

Older drivers have worst manners

Apparently older drivers – those aged over 55 – are the least smiley of any age group, which I think is a bit disappointing. I’m in my forties rather than fifties, but feel I’ve mellowed as the years have passed. So surely those of us in the older generation should be setting a good example to young drivers rather than scowling at them? Though having said that, it is annoying when you do let someone out and they don’t smile or acknowledge you. As my friend Lucy says, “I instantly regret my good deed and wish I could take it back. I usually wave my hand and mouth ‘thanks’ sarcastically, it makes me feel marginally better.” Another interesting discovery in the survey was that 60 per cent of motorists are happy to sit in queuing traffic till it moves with 25 per cent prepared to find an alternative route. I’d be one of the 15 per cent either annoyed at the traffic or dithering about whether trying another way would get me to my destination quicker.

Friendliest drivers by region

The survey also looks at where drivers are the friendliest. Norwich, Belfast and Edinburgh all score highly. I’ve never driven in any of those places, but I can say from experience that I think overall rural areas are friendlier and more laidback to drive in than more urban ones. That’s hardly surprising though. Quite apart from the lack of traffic jams, the lovely views, the slower pace of life and a lower population in rural areas means that if you were rude to someone you’d likely later discover it was your best friend’s new partner or a new neighbour. You might be able to get away with bad behaviour in more anonymous city environments, but in the countryside news will spread and you’ll be in trouble!

Good manners cost nothing

But if road rage really is declining, what might be the reason? Is it because the rising cost of running a car means there’s fewer of us on the road and hence less jams and other stressful situations? Or maybe we’re so busy worrying about paying our bills, that motoring-related upsets seem petty in comparison? Or perhaps we’re starting to value things that are free and, as my grandmother used to say, “good manners don’t cost anything”.

This article is reproduced in collaboration with GEM Motoring Assist

The Courtesy Driving Code

Once again we are delighted to support GEM MOTORING ASSIST with its ‘Courtesy Driving Code’ which is part of that company’s Courtesy on the Road Campaign. Our name and logo is being featured on another large print run of GEM’s colour leaflet which carries ten items of sound advice . . . see it here.