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COVID-19 Causing Anxiety and Stress Amongst UK Motorists

COVID-19 Causing Anxiety and Stress Amongst UK Motorists
Posted in Car News On By Aaron

An IAM RoadSmart study finds that one-in-five drivers and riders are more anxious about being on the road since lockdown.

IAM RoadSmart is an independent road safety charity formed in 1956 and provides research and insights into current trends and ongoing issues on the UK roads. They have recently done a survey on UK motorists and found that one in five drivers are more anxious and worried about being on the road since the COVID-19 lockdown. 

With the national lockdown now alleviated but the local lockdowns starting, the UK's largest independent road safety charity has become concerned that drivers of cars, lorries/trucks, motorcycles and vans are becoming increasingly stressed and anxious. And as a result, are feeling diminished levels of confidence in day-to-day driving on the road. This has been brought on by:

  • National and local Lockdowns meaning less time spent driving and confidence decreasing as a result
  • Worry about catching COVID-19, which has made drivers change their driving habits with some becoming more erratic
  • Less likely to carry or pick up passengers, which mean many are driving alone for long periods of time
  • Increased percentage of cyclists and pedestrians causing increased stress for drivers
  • A general distrust of other road users, due to drivers perceiving other road users standards as having lowered due to lockdowns

More than eight-in-ten motorists surveyed by IAM RoadSmart have admitted to 'suffering in silence', as there hasn't been any place for them to go to alleviate the feelings of anxiety they are experiencing whilst driving. And with the threat of further local lockdowns occurring, this is just continuing to fuel the anxiety and stress. Of the 1,000 people surveyed by IAM RoadSmart, 65% have admitted to being worried about offering a friend, work colleague or even family members a lift in their vehicle. 

Professor Alex Stedmon, a cognitive psychologist from Open Road Simulation Ltd has said that: 

"The skill of driving hasn't necessarily disappeared, but the confidence and familiarity of driving might have due to long periods away from the road"

Richard Glamna, IAM RoadSmart's Head of Driving and Riding Standards has said:

“Confidence is a major factor in how we drive or ride, particularly for those who have been driving or riding less in recent months. A loss of confidence can increase anxiety which in turn puts us at greater risk of being involved in an incident on the road"

"The good news is there are some simple things we can all do to make sure we maintain our confidence and minimise the risk of anxiety creeping in when we are driving or riding. As the foundation to all safer driving and riding, these reflect a common-sense approach that is easy to make part of your everyday driving and riding"

References: IAM RoadSmarts Survey & Findings

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