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UK drivers 'braking' the rules

New research shows that almost a million (980,000) drivers on UK roads have caused an accident through a braking error. With icy weather in much of the UK currently making driving conditions even more challenging than usual, the study’s claim that the majority of motorists’ braking styles are well out of line with the Driving Standards Agency’s guidelines is an additional cause for concern.

Kwik-Fit’s study uncovered and named five different types of braker. ‘Gear grinders’ are those motorists (over 11 million) who use the gears to slow down, using the brakes as little as possible. ‘Dabbers’ are the 3.8 million motorists (11%) who keep their foot hovering over the brake pedal and dab the brakes when needed. 875,000 motorists admitted to braking hard only when they are close to the traffic ahead in case it speeds up, earning themselves the nickname ‘last minute lead foots’. While another 644,000 drivers prefer to brake hard at first, then ease off as they get closer to the traffic in front; Kwik-Fit labels them as ‘early anchor stampers’. Less than half of all motorists (14.8 million) are ‘by the book brakers’, meaning that they use the correct technique of applying the brakes early and gently at first, then increasing the pressure as they get closer to traffic.

Kwik-Fit’s customer services director, David White commented on the research, saying: “There’s a tendency for motorists to adopt different driving styles and braking is clearly no exception. Worryingly, some of the braking styles followed by motorists are a long way from what’s recommended and in certain conditions could be unsafe. For example, ‘last minute leadfoots’ risk plowing into the back of the car they’re approaching, particularly in winter conditions when the roads are often wet and greasy. ‘Early anchor stampers’ risk catching out the driver behind them that may not be expecting to slow down so soon. Over time, it’s easy to pick up bad habits so we’d invite motorists check out their own braking technique and make any necessary changes.”
 

December 21, 2009

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