There’s a generation gap on our roads

There’s a generation gap on our roads – How young, middle-aged and older motorists view each other

Are young drivers fast, impatient and dangerous? Are older drivers slow, nervous and cautious? They might sound like stereotypes but that’s how they are described by other age groups in new research into the attitudes of different generations of motorists by car insurance specialist, Admiral MultiCar.

The survey of 2,000 people asked motorists of different age groups – young drivers aged 17-25, middle aged drivers aged 40 – 55 and older drivers aged over 65 – their views on each other’s driving.

It seems the older we get, the worse our opinion of the youngest drivers on the roads becomes. Nine out of ten older people think young people drive more recklessly than other age groups and three quarters of middle-aged drivers have the same view. While 83% of older motorists also think those under 25 are the worst drivers with 62% of middle aged drivers agreeing with them.

The feeling is mutual, with nearly half (48%) of young drivers saying they think the over 65s are the worst drivers.

The survey found we tend to think our driving improves the older we get. Two thirds of middle aged motorists say their driving has improved since they were under 25, only one in twenty thinks it has got worse. While one in five of the over 65s thinks their driving has improved since they were middle aged, while only 6% think it has got worse.
Admiral managing director, Sue Longthorn, said: “Contrary to the view by some people that older drivers are nervous it appears the older we get the more confident we are in our driving skills. We also become more critical of younger drivers.”

So do the statistics back up the view that young people aren’t as good at driving as older motorists? Admiral’s own statistics show the average cost of a claim involving someone under 25 is more than any other age group. They are also the most likely to have large, high impact accidents such as head on collisions, hitting a crash barrier and crossing in front a third party.

A higher percentage of the young drivers surveyed also admitted they have jumped a red light, used a mobile phone while driving and not used their indicators than the other generations.

The survey found the older we get, the less acceptable we think it is to drive over the speed limit. 37% of young drivers said it was acceptable, compared with 28% of middle aged drivers and 18% of older drivers. However that doesn’t mean that it’s the youngest people who most frequently break the speed limit. According to Admiral’s statistics, more middle aged drivers had a speeding conviction in the last year than the other two age groups:

2.8% of under 25s have had a speeding conviction in the last year
4.2% of 40 – 55s have had a speeding conviction in the last year
2.4% of over 65s have had a speeding conviction in the last year*

So back to those stereotypes, how do the different generations describe each other’s driving? Admiral asked them to select three words from a list to describe the style of driving for each generation.
Both the middle aged and older drivers chose fast, impatient and dangerous to describe young people’s driving.
The middle aged drivers were described as steady and confident by the other generations, as well as safe and law-abiding.

And the older drivers were described as slow and nervous, as well as dangerous and cautious by both the young and the middle aged drivers.

Sue Longthorn, said: “Our research shows just how critical each generation is of other s. The reality is that there are good and bad drivers of every generation. “It’s interesting that while the people we surveyed frequently chose negative words to describe the driving of others, they were more complimentary about their own driving. When we asked them to choose words to describe their own driving, the most common ones were safe, steady, courteous and cautious!”

*Percentage of Admiral customers who said they had had a speeding conviction in the previous year.
From 2014

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