Up close is too personal: tailgating triggers road rage

May 31, 2005

Drivers who tailgate, watch out. Having a car "sitting on your tail" is the behaviour most likely to enrage your fellow drivers.

In a national survey of road rage triggers by specialist car insurance provider Budget Direct, 51% of people nominated tailgating as the anti-social driving behaviour that most aggravates them. Strangely, motorists who drive too slowly cause only 27% of people to get angry.

More than 50% say they are unfazed by people who chat on mobiles while driving, but get angry when they see drivers littering - even a cigarette butt out the window raises the ire of 46%.

Budget Direct surveyed people who phoned its national call centre on the Sunshine Coast to buy or renew their car insurance. The call centre fields some 27,000 calls each month.

And how do we most often express road rage? It seems the "rude or provocative gesture" suffices as the most common expression of road rage, with only 8% reporting actual physical abuse by other drivers.

Other reported acts of aggression include being purposely nudged into oncoming traffic and having a gas bottle thrown at them. Road rage incidents also involved being cut off and "stalked" by a baseball bat wielding road rager while some victims reported being followed home.

Budget Direct CEO Michael Weston said the figures show that relatively common behaviours can push a driver to boiling point.

"Road rage is probably fuelled by the recent personal experiences of the aggressive driver - perhaps they've had a bad day at work, or are hurrying somewhere, but it is no excuse for behaving badly on the road," Mr Weston said.

He said that 71% of those surveyed did not worry about becoming a road rage victim, even though 55% had experienced some form of driver aggression in the past year.

Budget Direct forms part of a highly competitive national automotive insurance company, Australian Insurance Holdings, which pioneers the delivery of specialised innovative, technology-based products. The parent company to the Australian operations, Budget Insurance group, is a major automotive insurer and intermediary in the UK and South Africa with more than 20 years international experience and administers policies for more than one and a half million people worldwide.

For further information or interviews please contact Jonathan Kerr, Director, Marketing & Digital, Budget Direct (Auto & General) at 07 3377 8801 or mediaenquiries@budgetdirect.com.au

Budget Direct was established as an insurance provider in Australia in 2000.  It is part of the international BHL Group of companies headquartered in the British Isles. The group provides more than 6.8 million policies to insurance customers and administers $2 billion in premiums annually. Budget Direct offers Motor, Home & Contents, Health, Life and Travel Insurance as well as Roadside Assistance.