More than 9 in 10 young people aged 17-25 say they’ve felt uncomfortable in the passenger seat of a car – but 41% would rather keep quiet than ask the driver to slow down or concentrate on the road.
The research by Goodyear Tyres’ Young Driver programme found that 78% of 17 to 19-year-olds have been in a car when the driver has been distracted, and half of young people have been a passenger when a friend has answered the phone while driving.
Despite these worrying stats, many young people are worried about appearing ‘geeky’ by speaking out – especially if the driver is older than them.
PR & corporate communications manager at Goodyear Tyres UK, Kate Rock, said: “No one should be made to feel uncomfortable whilst a passenger in any vehicle, whether the driver is older or younger. Peer pressure is a strong influence on young people today, but by not approaching the subject of poor driving, it is putting themselves, the driver and other road users at risk.”
The survey of 1,000 17-25s found that 41% of young passengers have seen friends send a text while behind the wheel, and women are less likely to comment on poor driving than men.
Rock added: “It’s vital to speak up if you see a driver is distracted, so that we, as a nation, begin to view safe driving as the celebrated way to drive – for all ages – and work to reduce road crash statistics.”
Previous research by Goodyear Tyres has found that 41% of young drivers have had a crash or near miss in the past 12 months, with nearly a quarter of these a direct result of being distracted at the wheel.
23% of young drivers also admit their driving skills are worse when they have a friend in the car, with a third saying they concentrate less.