Motoring News

Why scaredy-cat UK drivers like to take long way around

  • 39% of UK drivers are scared at the wheel
  • Motorway driving one of their worst fears
  • Drivers admit to 50km detours to miss main roads
RUNNING SCARED: British drivers admit the motorways scare them. Image: Newspress
RUNNING SCARED: British drivers admit that motorways scare them but Nissan believes its ProPILOT can ease the fears. Image: Newspress

LONDON, England – Almost a quarter (23%) of people driving on British roads admit ”feeling anxious” when they take the on-ramp to their motorway network.

The research was done by Nissan to highlight the benefits of the brand’s ProPILOT driver-assistance tech available on the Nissan Qashqai and battery-powered Leaf. And the levels of nervousness were high:

  • 39% of drivers admitted being scared, nervous, uneasy or uncertain when driving
  • 21% said they lacked confidence on the high-speed roads (the UK motorway speed limit is 130km/h
  • 27% confessed to feeling scared when parking

The UK’s least confident motorway drivers are in…

RUNNING SCARED: British drivers admit the motorways scare them. Image: Newspress
LET THE CAR DO THE DRIVING: Image: Nissan / Newspress

1 London (27%)
2 Yorkshire and the Humber (26%)
3 East Anglia (25%)
4 East Midlands (24%)
5 West Midlands (23%)


So what makes British drivers run scared on a motorway? These are some of the reasons… or could that be excuses?

  • 55% were nervous when hemmed in between cars and lorries on multi-lanes
  • 48% were anxious about using the on- and off-ramps
  • 43% disliked overtaking a trucks or other big vehicle
  • 41% just wouldn’t change lanes
  • 38% were afraid of colliding with another vehicle in their blind spot
  • 29% worried about joining a lane at the same time as another vehicle
  • 16% simply didn’t like to vary their cruise speed

Almost half of those surveyed preferred to take a secondary road to avoid a busy highway and one in 20 were so nervous they would take a 50km detour.

It’s not surprising that citybound Londoners were most scared of motorways, while those from Wales were the least nervous (14%). Generationally, 18 to 24-year-olds were least confident on motorways (26%) against only 11% of over-65s.

READ MORE Nissan features on Carman’s Corner

However, not quite half of those surveyed believed driving-assistance tech – autobraking, lane-keeping, self-accelerating/braking cruise control – would help them.

Alex Smith, Nissan GB’s MD, told The Corner in a media release: “It’s concerning that many people lack confidence in the everyday aspects of multi-lane driving. Modern vehicle technologies, such as those developed under Nissan Intelligent Mobility, can play a key role in having a positive driving experience.


”It’s encouraging that a large proportion of drivers recognise the effect such equipment can have on their confidence at the wheel.” (See Carman’s Corner’s MasterTips: Is current autocruise too dangerous?)

Nissan says, however, its ProPILOT ”is one of the most advanced assistance technologies and enhances a driver’s control by assisting with steering, acceleration and braking”.

The autmaker adds: ”It works in a single lane on a highway and is optimised for low-speed congestion and high-speed cruising.”

Once on, it will maintain vehicle speed and a safe following distance, even as the vehicle ahead slows or accelerates, and will slow to a complete stop if traffic conditions require before moving off again as the traffic moves on.

Nissan adds: ”ProPILOT, by liberating drivers from some of the more mundane elements of motoring,  can reduce fatigue and stress – particularly on a motorway or in heavy traffic – to improve overall control and confidence.”

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