Mike Stevens | Oct 6, 2010

A new survey by 'over 50s' insurance company Apia has found that older drivers are more patient and less likely to engage in 'road rage' than those in younger age groups.

According to Apia's research, which saw 2818 Australian drivers of all ages surveyed, only 8 percent of drivers aged over 55 admitted they had resorted to tailgating in response to another driver's actions. The figure climbed to 27 percent for drivers aged 18 to 54.

“It may be a reflection of this more relaxed stage of life that older drivers appear to be more calm and forgiving on the road than their younger counterparts,” Apia Executive Manager Craig Dingle said.

“Only 13 percent of motorists aged over 55 consider themselves to be an impatient driver, well below the average of 23 percent for the younger age groups."

The survey showed that older drivers are also the least likely to respond to driver aggression 'in kind', with 53 percent saying that the best response to road rage is to signal and apology and focus on their own driving.

Younger groups aren't far behind in this belief however, with 43 percent of drivers aged 18 to 54 agreeing with this approach.

Interestingly, while 49 percent of motorists consider older drivers to be a hazard on the road, the survey also found that the majority of drivers over 55 were far less likely to engage in distracting behaviour while driving - a problem that appears to be on the rise among younger drivers.

Only one in ten older drivers (10 percent) said they had sent or read a text message while driving during the last year, compared to almost half of drivers in other age groups (48 percent).

Drivers over 55 were also much less likely to use a mobile phone without a hands-free kit when behind the wheel - 18 percent compared to 48 percent of drivers aged 18 - 54.

Mr Dingle said these "safer driving practices" were reflected in Apia’s claims data which showed that Australian drivers over 50 had an eight percent lower incidence rate of motor vehicle claims than those in younger age groups.

 

Other results from the Apia survey

  • One in eight (13 percent) motorists over 55 consider themselves to be impatient drivers, compared to almost one in four (23 percent) drivers aged 18 – 54.
  • Only eight percent of drivers over 55 have tailgated another motorist after becoming angry at their actions, compared with 27 percent of younger drivers.
  • Older drivers are less likely to become distracted by changing the CD, tape or radio station while driving – 25 percent compared with 38 percent of drivers under 55.
  • 15 percent of drivers over 55 admit to having run a red light or making an illegal U-turn in the last 12 months - significantly lower than the 29 percent of drivers in other age groups who say they have done this.
  • Drivers aged over 55 also appear to be more honest when it comes to owning up to a mistake, with only nine percent admitting they would think twice about leaving their details if they damaged another car in a car park and no one witnessed it – compared to 23 percent of drivers aged 18 - 54.
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