Road rage on the rise...
The worrying figures reveal more drivers than ever are being pushed to breaking point as Ireland's roads grow more and more congested in the run-up to Christmas.
The findings of the survey, commissioned by Setanta Insurance, are disturbing as they mark a significant increase in the incidents of drivers losing their temper behind the wheel.
The only previous similar study was conducted in August 2007 and revealed that three in 10 motorists admitted to having had feelings of road rage.
County Carlow is named and shamed as the road rage capital of the country, where almost a third of drivers admit being unable to stop themselves shouting, swearing and gesturing at others on the road, even in front of their children. And a shocking total of 80% of Carlow drivers admit to some form of road rage in the past.
While County Louth is home to Ireland's least angriest drivers, as 35% say they have never lost their cool while driving.
Mike Matthews CEO and founder of Setanta Insurance was shocked by the results of the survey and is calling on the Department of Transport to wake up to the issue and educate drivers on the dangers of losing your temper while driving.
Mr Matthews said: "It is clear from our research that road rage is a real and growing problem, and for everybody's sake this has got to be stamped-out.
"Road rage is defined as an irrational surge of anger towards other motorists and is often displayed by those you'd least expect. But why have we become a nation of road ragers? Are we simply more angry than ever, our driving worse than ever, or could it be down to the fact that our roads are more congested than ever?
"Whatever the reason it is clearly a symptom of today's high-stress driving environment and the changes in society that make people more self centric and less considerate of others.
"Now is the time for Noel Dempsey and all at the Department of Transport to really grasp the severity of this issue and raise awareness of this growing problem before it gets any worse."
According to the research conducted on behalf of Setanta Insurance the top reasons why motorists are driven over the edge include people driving too close or too slow, those who flash their lights so they can overtake and drivers who jump traffic jam queues.
Speed cameras and miles of road works also get people worked up, as do the sight of tractors and caravans holding up traffic.
Mums on the school run also cause some drivers to see red, as do people who happily abandon their vehicles across two parking bays.
Mr Matthews said: "I find it absurd that those in positions of authority fail to recognise the changing face of society when setting rules and expectations for road users. Surely those policing our roads should be looking out for and recording driving which incites road rage and then educating those perpetrators, as well as new drivers, about those actions.
"In addition they should establish rules for co-operative driving, placing the onus on each of us to eliminate or minimise the risk of road-rage by prevention, including guidelines on keeping to the nearside lane except when passing, keeping a minimum time-distance of two seconds when following a car and so on. By making these laws more highly feared than that of speeding perhaps then we all will see smoother traffic flow and less incidents of road rage.
"Whatever the solution, one thing is for sure, all drivers need to remain calm while behind the wheel. Road rage causes accidents, and unless the government acts there will be deaths on our roads as a direct result of this."
Setanta Insurance, launched in October 2007, is Ireland's fastest growing vehicle insurance company.
The company attributes much of its success to the decision to sell its products only via brokers rather than direct to the consumer.
Mr Matthews added: "We have all felt stressed at some point behind the wheel but safety is paramount, and losing your temper or getting involved with another driver who has lost their temper will not achieve anything. Road-rage can cause accidents which can see drivers' premiums rocket if damage is inflicted to their vehicles.
"As the fastest growing vehicle insurance company in the Irish market we have a primary aim of changing the face of motor insurance for the good of both the private and commercial driver across Ireland.
"Commissioning this study has helped us to better understand the key issues so that we can work pro-actively with our broker partners to tackle potential problem areas with them and their customers."
Last month Setanta Insurance launched Ireland's first ever anti-drug driving campaign called Keep Drama off the Roads (www.keepdramaofftheroads.ie).
Top Five causes of Road Rage
- Driving too close
- Driving too slow
- Flashing lights from behind before overtaking
- Jumping traffic jam queues
- Not using indicators
Top five most angriest
Top five least angriest
NOTES TO EDITORS
For more information, photography or to arrange an interview with Mike Matthews please contact Gary Quinn at Mason Media on 0044 151 239 5053 or 0044 7745 962401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The poll was conducted online by OnePoll throughout August and surveyed 2,000 people in total.
Setanta Insurance's website can be found at www.setantainsurance.com
For more information on Setanta Insurance drug driving campaign go to www.keepdramaofftheroads.ie
Facebook - Setanta Insurance - Keep Drama Off The Roads