Survey reveals biggest driver irritations of 2021

Driver irritations: One in four drivers have shouted or sworn at another driver

A study of 2,000 UK drivers has revealed more than half have had an argument in the car during the last 12 months with bad driving habits, whose directions to follow, and choice of music among the top disputes.

Criticising the driver’s decisions (46 per cent), telling them they should be in another lane (42 per cent) and giving directions without being asked are among the top signs you are an interfering passenger.

The stats emerged in Waze’s inaugural ‘Year in Rear View’ study, which looked at the driving habits and trends of 2021.

It found that during the last year, 25 per cent of British drivers swore or shouted at another driver, while 23 per cent admitted to speeding up to make it through an amber light.

However, only 14 per cent of drivers would use their horn if someone wasn’t moving ahead of them, compared to the 60 per cent who would wait patiently. Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) have also turned down their music ‘to help them see’ when they are lost or trying to park.

As offices and workplaces started to open up, many also went back to commuting, but after getting used to working from home during lockdown, 19 per cent would happily change jobs for a shorter drive to work.

In fact, more than one in 10 (13 per cent) would consider moving house and seven per cent would even think about quitting their job to avoid a long commute.

After getting used to the quieter roads during the pandemic, 25 per cent of drivers would give up takeaways and 23 per cent would quit alcohol to guarantee traffic jam-free journeys for a year.

Others would be prepared to give up chocolate (17 per cent) and sex (14 per cent), but only six per cent of drivers would give up their phone for a year of no traffic.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found that on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is very happy, Brits rated their happiness behind the wheel at 7.27.

Says Ru Roberts, Waze UK Country Manager:

“After 18 months of intermittent lockdowns, UK motorists are adjusting to life on the roads and sharing journeys again.

“This year we spent more time in the car than ever as the country opened up, with daily driven miles increasing by 23 per cent compared to pre-COVID levels.

“New habits are emerging too – drives for leisure, travel and staycations all increased this year while 55 per cent of UK motorists no longer have a daily commute.

Additional data related to travel and COVID-19 over the last year can be found at


1.            Backseat driving

2.            When you get lost

3.            The temperature of the car

4.            Bad driving habits such as speeding

5.            Whose directions to follow

6.            What music or radio station to have on

7.            Who chooses the music

8.            Whether to have windows open

9.            Someone making too much noise

10.          Where to stop


1.            Criticising the driver’s decisions

2.            Telling the driver they should be in another lane

3.            Giving directions to the driver without being asked

4.            Complaining about the speed

5.            Flinching or shouting if the driver gets too close to something

6.            Telling the driver when the traffic lights have changed

7.            Telling the driver when they can pull out at a junction

8.            Disagreeing with the driver’s decision to go a certain way

9.            Pressing the imaginary brake

10.          Looking to see if it’s safe to pull out at a junction

Chris Price