Younger drivers driven to distraction

Thursday 20 August 2015

• Over 50s more likely to focus on the road than younger drivers • 18 to 24 year olds are most likely to get distracted • Common distractions are other drivers, changing CDs and fiddling with Sat Navs • Distracted drivers most likely to get stressed or miss a turning

Younger drivers driven to distraction

Eating, drinking and checking phones are just some of the things Britain’s motorists admit to getting up to behind the wheel over the last 12 months. However, a report by Saga Car Insurance shows that people get wiser as they get older as the over 50s are more likely to keep their eyes on the road.

The top driving distractions overall are other drivers, changing CDs or radio stations and trying to program the Sat Nav. However, while three fifths of people over 50 say they have been distracted whilst driving, more than three quarters of under 50s confess that their eyes wander off the road regularly. The biggest culprits are those aged 18 to 24 with nine out of ten admitting they haven’t always given the road their undivided attention in the last 12 months.

It seems that pretty much anything can distract younger drivers, as the under 50s are twice as likely to be distracted by passengers or back seat drivers and almost three times more likely to stop looking at the road and check their mobile phone.

Indeed you may find more crumbs and empty coke cans in the under 50s cars as they are nearly four times more likely to get distracted whilst nibbling behind the wheel. This can be one of the biggest distractions especially if you’re eating your favourite food and don’t want to drop it.

However, bugs seem to get drivers of all ages in a fluster with one in seven saying batting away wasps has caused them to take their eyes off the road. Indeed, Saga got stung for a whopping £2,250 when a wasp landed on one of its customer’s face causing him to lose control of the car and veer off into a hedge.

In-car technology seems to be coming to some driver’s rescue as one in three say modern technology in cars, such as lane departure warnings and hands free kits, help them give the road their undivided attention.

Perhaps this is why those who have been distracted in the last 12 months say that its only caused them to miss their turning (25%) or get a bit hot under the collar and stressed out (19%). However, the under 50s appear to have had a few more near misses than the over 50s in the last 12 months (under 50s 15% vs over 50s 9%) as a direct result of being distracted.

Sue Green, Head of Car Insurance at Saga, commented: “The over 50s are right to not get too complacent behind the wheel even though they’ve clocked up millions of miles of driving experience over the years. It’s easy to forget about the dangers of driving especially if you do it every day but people should think twice before they rummage in the glove box or try to snack while on the move.”

While older people are less likely to get distracted behind the wheel Saga understands that mistakes can happen, so it has made it as easy as possible for customers to make a claim. It has a unique team dedicated to helping older customers through the claims process so that they can get back on the road with minimal disruption.

Furthermore, if Saga Car Insurance customers have the legal add-on and are injured in an accident they can complete a free driver confidence course to ease them back behind the wheel. 


Notes to editors
*Populus interviewed 2,040 people all aged 18 and over, online between 7th and 9th August 2015. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.


Common distractions  Under 50s  Over 50s 
Other drivers  33%  37% 
Changing radio stations/CDs  26%  19% 
Sat Navs  23%  16% 
 Insect 15%  14% 
Passengers or back seat drivers  18%  10% 
Looking at an accident  16%  10% 
Mobile phones  18%  7% 
Eating or drinking  17%  5% 
Looking for things in the car, e.g. glove box or dropped items  14%  7% 

Distractions caused the driver to:  Under 50s  Over 50s 
Miss a turning  25%  24% 
Get stressed  25%  12% 
Have a near miss  15%  9% 
Mount a curb  10%  7% 
Run a red light  7%  2% 

About Saga Car Insurance
• Saga Car Insurance is the leading specialist insurance provider for people aged 50 and over, offering cover tailored to their needs
• Saga Car Insurance is Which? Recommended and holds a Defaqto 5 star rating Saga Car Insurance is accessible, with UK based call centres and no automated telephone menus
• Saga Car Insurance offers uninsured driver cover, up to £500 get you home cover, £1,000 of personal belongings cover and vandalism cover
• For more information, visit or call 0800 015 0756

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