Motorway Paranoia

Help at hand with free Drive Motorway courses

while motorways carry 21% of the traffic they account for just 5.4 % of fatalities

while motorways carry 21% of the traffic they account for just 5.4 % of fatalities

Almost half of motorists know friends or family who avoid driving on motorways with more than one in 10 women saying that they themselves avoid driving on motorways due to nerves.

One quarter of drivers are even nervous when they know that family or friends are making a journey on a motorway.

New figures (AA Route Planner use in July 2015) show that one in 50  people, 13,000 per day, planning a route are driving extra miles by choosing routes  that avoid motorways as they are too nervous to tackle the multilane roads, according to the AA Charitable Trust.

Safest roads

Yet, ironically, according to the latest Government figures*, while motorways carry 21% of the traffic they account for just 5.4 % of fatalities,  making them safer than other types of roads.

M-Phobia increasing thanks to 'smart' motorways

M-Phobia is increasing with not only those drivers who have always been petrified of motorways but also a growing number who do not understand the new ‘smart’ motorways where the hard-shoulder is used as a running lane.

Free courses

To help these drivers overcome their fears The AA Charitable Trust (registered road safety charity) is due to launch 2000 FREE “Drive Motorway” two hour courses.
 
Previous research from AA Route Planner found that drivers drove an extra 600m miles per year just to avoid motorways.

Never taught how to drive on motorways

Part of the problem for some drivers is that they were never taught how to drive on motorways and therefore were always worried about how to join the motorway safely or paranoid about overtaking trucks.

51% of drivers claim not to be prepared to drive on motorways and of those that have had post-test tuition only 3% have undergone any motorway driving tuition.

Radical changes to motorway design and use

Even for those who were taught how to drive on motorways we are seeing radical changes to how motorways are designed and how they must be used.

Some aspects of the latest motorways may be unfamiliar to those who passed their test years ago. For instance we now have some stretches of five lane motorways; ‘Smart’ motorways without hard shoulders; variable speeds; average speed cameras etc.

‘Drive Motorway’ will help eliminate motorway fears and phobias as well as updating drivers on changes to our motorway layout and rules

Edmund King, Director of the AA Charitable Trust

Helping to eliminate motorway fears and phobias

Edmund King, Director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “For drivers worried about motorways, help is at hand via the AA Charitable Trust. We have been working with AA Driving School experts to produce a two-hour free course ‘Drive Motorway’ which will help eliminate motorway fears and phobias as well as updating drivers on changes to our motorway layout and rules.

Rules state you only need lay-bys every 2.5km (about 1.5 miles) but we would like to see twice as many

Edmund King, Director of the AA Charitable Trust

Lack of lay-bys

“One of our concerns has been the lack of lay-bys on stretches of ‘smart motorway’ where the hard-shoulder has been removed. The current rules state you only need lay-bys every 2.5km (about 1.5 miles) but we would like to see twice as many. The hard-shoulder can also be a very dangerous place but it is not as dangerous as breaking down in a lane of live traffic. If you do get stuck in a live lane the advice is to ring 999.

“‘Drive Motorway’ will give comprehensive advice on what drivers should do if they breakdown on such a stretch of motorway and will help alleviate fears about motorway driving.”

Drivers can apply on-line for the free courses.

Motorway Fact File

3,500 drivers needed help in the first ten months of the Greater Manchester Smart motorway.

Highways England's own documentation acknowledges increased risks and estimates that for a vehicle stopping in a running lane off-peak, the overall percentage change in safety risk compared with an ordinary 3-lane motorway is 216%.

13,000 people per day are looking for routes that avoid motorways.

AA-Populus research

Most irritating behaviour of other drivers [August 2015]

  • tailgating (top 28%)
  • mobile phone (next 27%)
  • middle lane-hogging (third 18%)

Post test training [February 2015]

  • 61% hadn’t had any form of post-test driver training of those that had (39%) only 3% had a motorway lesson

Dealing with tailgaters [January 2015]

  • 41% deal with motorway tailgaters by changing lanes
  • 25% ignore it
  • 18% slow down

Traffic police [July 2014]

  • 43% consider that there are not enough traffic police on motorways
  • 21% consider there are enough

Preparation for motorway driving [August 2013]

  • 51% were unprepared (26% completely unprepared) post-test to drive on motorways
  • Only 39% were prepared

Who taught you how to drive on motorways? [July 2013]

  • No-one 51%
  • Parent/family member 19%
  • Read highway code/other publication 15%

Top 5 favourite motorways in the UK [August 13]

  • M5  (5%)
  • M40 (5% )
  • M1 (4%)
  • M6 (toll) (4%)
  • M6 (4%)

The least favourite motorway in the UK by far is the M25, as mentioned by 30% of AA members. The M6 and M1 are also disliked, with 11% and 9% respectively.

AA-Populus Motoring Panel results

(survey of 29,267 AA Members in July 2015)  

  • The majority (90%) of AA members think that if Highways England converts some sections of motorway hard shoulders into permanent running lanes, then it will be more difficult to deal with incidents/accidents/road works in sections where there is no hard shoulder. 
  • 85% agree that hard shoulders help to make motorways safe. 
  • 59% say they will be more nervous driving on a motorway without a hard shoulder. Women were more likely to say this; 67% vs. 56% of men.
  • Two thirds (64%) are not confident that they fully understand what a ‘smart’ motorway is.
  • A quarter (24%) are nervous when they know family or friends are making a journey on a motorway. Women are more likely to be nervous; 31% vs. 21% of men. 
  • Almost half of AA members (47%) say that either they, or their friends and family avoid driving on a motorway because they are nervous about using it. Women and younger respondents are most likely to say this; 57% of women, and two thirds (66%) of 18-24 year olds.

(23 October 2015)

* Department for Transport:  96 motorway fatalities, 783 on built up roads, 896 on non-built up roads There were 96 fatalities on motorways in 2014, 4 fewer than in 2013. This change is likely to be a reflection of natural variation in the figures. The number of seriously injured casualties on motorways rose for the second year, by 8.8% to 718. There was a smaller rise of 5.3% in the number of slightly injured casualties.