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Road safety improving

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Brits on the road are becoming a nation of more cautious drivers, despite some ‘bad habits' increasing despite a fall in 2011.

According to Sainsbury’s Car Insurance Driver Behaviour Index 2012, motorists are becoming more and more cautious year-on-year, with decreases in the number of drivers excessively speeding, using a mobile phone behind the wheel, driving without a seatbelt and tailgating.

The number of motorists who admit to excessive speeding (exceeding the speed limit by at least 10mph) has dropped from 19% in 2011 to 17% in 2012.

Speeding accounts for around a quarter of fatal crashes in the UK.

Ben Tyte, head of Sainsbury’s Car Insurance, said: “It’s encouraging to see that driver behaviour on our roads remains, on the whole, at a consistent level and is improving in some areas.

“We’re pleased to see a reduction in excessive speeding, as this is the cause of so many accidents on our roads.

“Being a safe driver means you are not only protecting yourself and your family, but also other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists so we’d encourage everyone to take extra caution while they’re behind the wheel, even if they already consider themselves a safe driver.”

The number of drivers who report using their phone without a hands-free set has also dropped in the last year, from 6% in 2011 to 5% in 2012.

However the number of drivers’ texting behind the wheel has increased from 4% in 2011 to 5% in 2012.

According to experts, this is worrying as reaction times for drivers using a phone are around 50% slower than normal, increasing risk of accident.

The number of people who drive feeling tired has remained consistent, with 18% reporting this ‘bad habit’ in both 2011 and 2012.

This figure is still worryingly high as nearly 20% of crashes on major roads are due to driver fatigue.

Also consistent is the number of people who admit to driving under the influence of alcohol.

In both 2011 and 2012, 6% of drivers reported driving the morning after the night before while still possibly under the influence of alcohol.

Another 6% admitted to driving after an alcoholic drink, which has remained consistent in the last year.

This is despite Government advice that the only way to stay safe is not to drink any alcohol if you’re driving.

Drivers who are over the legal limit could face a driving ban and large fine.

Motorists driving without a seatbelt, tailgating and road rage has also remained low.

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