According to a recent motor trade industry survey, traffic lights can be a potential ‘hot spot’ for winding up drivers to the point where they are melting with road rage. It seems 46% of the 2,498 motorists interviewed admit they ‘see red’ if another motorist is ‘daydreaming’ at traffic signals for any more than three seconds once the green light appears. But why?
Is it just that traffic lights wind drivers up anyway? It may be bad manners, but this survey suggests a learner on L plates, or shoppers test driving new and used cars on trade plates, will soon have almost half of all those queuing behind spitting feathers if they should dawdle for more than a second or two before moving off.
Around a third of those surveyed (35%) were prepared to be a little more tolerant, considering that about four to six seconds is plenty of time for drivers to respond to a changing signal.
Those who showed the greatest patience – no doubt also in possession of an unblemished driving record and a full ‘no claims discount’ on their insurance policy – stated they were quite happy to sit behind any driver not ready to pull away from the lights, for as long as it takes.
Speaking on behalf of the motor trade, RAC spokesman, Simon Williams said: “While three seconds is obviously a very short time, anything longer than this can start to seem like an eternity when you desperately want to get through a set of traffic lights and the person in front is taking forever to get going.”
Referencing environmental concerns about slow-reacting drivers who stir fellow road users to anger, Williams added: “When you think that some lights only stay green for 15 seconds, this severely limits the number of vehicles that can get through before red comes up again, and this in turn makes jams – and potentially even air pollution – worse.”
Many drivers may not be entirely surprised to learn that the survey discovered there were some gender-based differences in this annoyance with other drivers at traffic lights.
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It seems female drivers have more patience in this scenario than their male counterparts, with only 41% of women were driven to distraction by ‘slow coaches’, while 50% of men behind the wheel at such times would be very likely to ‘lose their rag’ because of this kind of delay.
There were also regional variations in responses from the motoring public. According to the statistics, motorists on the roads of Yorkshire and Humberside topped the poll, with 55% owning up to being inclined to lose their temper when faced with drivers who keep everyone waiting.
However, Welsh drivers should take a bow, with only 34% of motorists in Wales getting hopping mad about drivers who lose their concentration in traffic queues, the Principality can be justly proud of its new-found reputation for Celtic calm!