Back seat drivers

Nagging friends and family causing confidence crash amongst UK motorists

16 November 2011

Overall, a third of us admit to being back seat drivers

Overall, a third of us admit to being back seat drivers

Women drivers are being bombarded with criticism by male back seat drivers. Nearly two thirds (58%) of women drivers say men in their families nag them about their driving.

But it’s not an entirely one-way street: half of male motorists say their female relatives are guilty of being back seat drivers too.

Overall, a third of us admit to being back seat drivers (33%).

Most common causes of back seat driving

The behaviours cited most frequently as the cause of back seat driving were:

  • driving too fast (42%)
  • not being aware enough of what is going on (48%)
  • not braking soon enough (44%), and
  • driving too close to the vehicle in front (39%)

Back seat driving may seem harmless but it can lead to severe confidence issues for the driver being nagged

Edmund King, AA president

Comment

Edmund King, AA President, said: “Back seat driving may seem harmless but it can lead to severe confidence issues for the driver being nagged.

“Often it feels like we just can’t help ourselves, especially if we think we are being driven dangerously, but constant back seat driving can distract and frustrate a driver.

“If you really feel you are justified in your criticism, wait until you have pulled over before giving it. Professional driving help might also be a good way to help correct the driving that worries you, while leaving your relationship in tact.”

Case study

The problem is highlighted in a new Channel 5 series, Dangerous Drivers’ School, which started on October 19th at 8pm. The programme shows AA Driving School instructors tackling problem drivers.

The episode on 16 November (8pm) shows how backseat driving can cause people to lose almost all their confidence when driving.

Dangerous Drivers' School, Channel 5

Dangerous Drivers' School, Channel 5

My session with Ashley really gave me peace of mind that I am a capable driver

Helen Wilson

Helen Wilson, from Halifax, has been driving for 20 years but constant criticism from twin sister Cath and the odd comment from best friend Jean made her think she really did have a driving problem.

But when Helen went out with an AA Driving School instructor she discovered the real problem was her over-critical friends and family.

Helen said: “I was really starting to lose confidence in my driving ability and I wanted to make sure I was a safe driver.

“My session with Ashley really gave me peace of mind that I am a capable driver. Spending some time on my parking also helped because, actually, when I was feeling more confident I found it a lot easier to park.

“It was a really good feeling to be able to tell Jean and Cath that I was right – I can drive well!”

Free courses

To mark the launch of the Channel 5 series, the AA Charitable Trust has 2,000 FREE courses, like the ones taken on the show, available for nervous, lapsed or dangerous drivers.

AA/Populus poll of 16,961 AA members conducted between 21st – 28th September 2011

(14 November 2011)