Motoring expert Vicki Butler-Henderson said: 'We really are a nation of naughty drivers'

A fifth of British drivers (21%) have been frisky with their partners whilst driving, almost a third flirt with traffic wardens to avoid tickets (30%) and a fifth spend more time checking out good-looking drivers than focusing on the road (19%), according to research out today from The British International Motor Show sponsored by Zurich Connect.

Research undertaken by organisers of the UK’s biggest motor show uncovered bizarre behaviour behind the wheel and such was the impact of the findings that they have set up an online confessional, where drivers can purge their guilt by emailing their secrets to the show’s website.

Motoring expert Vicki Butler-Henderson said: “We really are a nation of naughty drivers!  It’s unbelievable what some of us get up to in our cars - like a friend of mine who drove five miles with a birthday cake on the roof!  So don’t be shy, email us your stories and we’ll put them up online.”


The Show has also coined the term ‘prangster’ for drivers who accidentally damage another car and don’t own up to it.  The research found a dishonest fifth (21%) of UK drivers deserve the title of prangsters, but that figure shamefully rises to nearly half (44%) of all drivers in London.  Other areas of the country to avoid are Wales (19%), and East Anglia (18%).

Supermarkets are also a hot spot, with nearly half (44%) of all secret prangs happening in their car parks, with street parking (32%) and multi storey car parks (30%) also topping the list.  Reasons for prangster behaviour include it being too much hassle to own up (19%), “I’ve had it done to me before” (20%) and being in a hurry (13%).  Only a tiny proportion avoided responsibility because they thought it might cost a lot to fix (4%).

Car knowledge guilty secrets

The research also probed people’s knowledge of the workings of their car, and unearthed guilty secrets here too.  These include:

  • Nearly half not knowing how to change a tyre (43%)
  • A third not knowing where the dipstick is (29%)
  • A quarter not knowing how to adjust tyre pressure (27%)
  • Not knowing the difference between the windscreen washer and the radiator cap (25%)
  • Not knowing how to refill with oil (25%)
  • Putting petrol in a diesel engine (9%)

Vicki Butler-Henderson said: “It’s amazing how many people can’t manage even the most basic maintenance on their cars – changing a tyre, checking tyre pressure and checking the oil are fundamental things you need to know if you own a car.”

The UK driver’s top ten guilty secrets
  • Eating at the wheel (67%)
  • Chatting on mobile (37%)
  • Flirting with traffic wardens to avoid a ticket (30%)
  • Driving off with items left on the car roof (26%)
  • Damaging another car and not owning up to it (21%)
  • Checking out the good-looking drivers around you (19%)
  • Putting on lipstick/makeup/checking hair in the mirror (18%)
  • Reading a newspaper or magazine (13%)
  • Using a ‘Dr on call’, when you’re not a doctor (8%)
14 May 2008 Staff

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