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Back seat Britain

UK drivers spend over £9 million repairing car damage caused by back seat driver distractions

  • Back seat driving is UK motorists’ number one pet hate 
  • 1 in 5 of us have forked out up to £500 to repair damage caused by back seat drivers
  • Partners (45%) prove to be the worst back seat drivers
  • The imaginary brake pedal push is the most annoying backseat driver habit
  • partners with etiquette experts Debretts to launch the first ever ‘Back Seat Driver Etiquette Guide’

New research released today from car insurance expert, has revealed the true cost of giving friends and families a ride home. Two thirds (66%) of British motorists have been victims of unwanted attention from self-appointed back seat drivers, and almost 1 in 4 (24%) of us have been in an accident whilst dealing with the distractions of other passengers. These distractions means that, 20% of British motorists will have to fork out up to £500 to repair accidental damages ‘caused’ by back seat drivers in their driving life.

Driver being annoyed by his passengerThe good, the bad and the ugly

The research also reveals that the worst backseat pests are bus drivers, train drivers  and delivery men who obviously forget that they’re off duty. On the other hand, teachers are the most patient of passengers and put up with the driver’s bad habits.

When it comes to family life, most of us  confess that we would rather journey with our colleagues than our loved ones. This is because our partners are the worst backseat drivers, with husbands and boyfriends disrupting the driver most often and 45% of them voicing their traffic-tips several times during the shortest of journeys.

Particularly bad at knowing when to keep quiet are our parents who feature second on the list of frequent offenders (28%) when it comes to interfering from the back seat.

Hyacinth Bucket rides again

Britain's worst back seat driving offenders:

- East Midlanders are the nation's worst offenders, with 76% or motorists having suffered back seat drivers' comments.

- Drivers in South East take passenger comments on their driving to heart the most with 22% of back seat driving arguments lasting the rest of the day.

The North East is the most hassle-free place to drive, with only 28% motorists having been a back seat driver themselves.

The survey of 2,000 people was completed by on behalf of in April 2012.

While Britain’s men are adopting the (self-appointed) role of back seat advisor, both sexes are guilty of reviving the timeless Hyacinth-esque remarks. ‘Gems’ like “Watch the cyclist!”, “Watch the (parked) lorry!” and “Aren’t you going too fast…?” are among the most commonly used comments, and are frequently accompanied by a host of back seat-body language giveaways.

The most popular gestures – as inspired by the original back seat driver, Hyacinth Bucket – include the terrified grip-tightening on the door handle; the not-so-subtle glance at the speedometer, or the favourite of partners and parents across the country – the imaginary brake pedal push.

Stereotypes stand strong against women and elderly

When it comes to the world of motoring, reveals that unfortunately, stereotypes are surviving, with women and the elderly being the most likely to suffer from backseat bad manners. Over two thirds of women (68%), and a shocking 70% of drivers over the age of 55 find themselves on the receiving end of this bad etiquette – especially patronising are comments about the speed of the car (24%) or their proximity to other cars (25%).

Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at, says: “As motoring costs continue to rise at a meteoric rate, it’s never been more important for drivers to keep their costs as low as possible. Our research shows that having other people in the car can distract us from the road, and lead to accidents which in turn increases the cost of our car insurance policies.”

Debrett’s spokesperson, Jo Bryant, added: “If you're a passenger in someone else's car, your behaviour must be polite at all times, just as it would be if you were visiting their home. The Etiquette Guide for Back Seat drivers will ensure that every journey is courteous and civilised.”

For advice from etiquette experts, Debretts, on how to be the perfect passenger for your friends and family, visit ( Alternatively, if your friends and family are among the very worst back seat drivers and beyond help, then visit ( and arm yourself with a selection of witty comebacks to help deal with the frustration of back seat badgerers next time you’re on the road.

For more information please contact the press office at Cake on 0207 307 3100 /


Notes To Editors:

1. Research from has found that 24% of UK accidents have paid an average of £253.40 on repairing damages to cars after accidents caused by backseat drivers. The total cost of which comes to £9,390,841.82. The total number of road accidents in Great Britain is 154,414 (according to Department for Transport Reported road casualties report 2010), 24% of 154,414 = 37,059.36.  37,059.36 multiplied by 253.40 = £9,390,841.80 .

2. Research conducted by OnePoll for in April 2012, with a survey base of 2000 respondents.

About was the UK's first price comparison site for car insurance. is one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services. Launched in 2002, it generates over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include home insurance, travel insurance, pet insurance, van insurance, motorbike insurance, breakdown cover and energy, as well as financial services products including credit cards, loans, mortgages and life insurance. is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides a free, objective and unbiased comparison service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more.’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators. is owned by the Admiral Group plc. Admiral listed on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004. is regulated by the FSA.

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