Use phone while driving, uncivil or even dangerous behaviour, inopportune honking, insults between drivers… The French are far from being irreproachable when it comes to road safety. And a survey* conducted by Ipsos for the Vinci Autoroutes Foundation, as part of its traditional barometer of responsible driving, which Le Parisien reveals, once again confirms this. Region by region, he teaches us that not all drivers are created equal.
The constant, however, is that the French drive badly. “There are sometimes variations depending on the country that are difficult to explain, but regulations and culture can play a role”, explains Bernadette Moreau, General Delegate of the Foundation. Thus, the French declare on average 2.1 of the five uncivil behaviors on which they were questioned, as in Spain, but behind Greece (2.3) and above the European average (1.9). The French are at the top of the podium, ahead of Greece and Spain, when it comes to insulting other drivers.
Young people on the front line
These dangerous behaviors are found in particular among young people on whom the Vinci Autoroutes Foundation is devoting a focus this year. “We can say that those under 35 are under the influence”, supports Bernadette Moreau. Below the influence of their phone (78% of them call while driving, 54% send or read text messages or emails, 23% watch films or videos) – but “the use of the telephone while driving is generalized in the whole population”, nuance However, the specialist -, alcohol (20% of men of this age say they have already taken the road in a state of intoxication) and even (19% of these young men drive while having smoked cannabis or consumed ).
The detail by region is interesting to look at. How to interpret the differences? “This can be explained by the differences in traffic, with practices that we may do more often because we stay longer in the car”, analyzes Bernadette Moreau. Thus, in Île-de-France, where we spend the most time in traffic jams, it is there that we declare the most incivilities at the wheel: 2.5 incivil behavior out of 5, ahead of Provence -Alpes-Côte d’Azur (2.2), when the average is 2.1. Ile-de-France residents average 9.3 of the 10 dangerous behaviors tested, compared to 7.3 for the Centre-Val de Loire region.
When we go into the details of these uncivil behaviors, the top 3 vary: Normandy is in the lead ahead of Hauts-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes when we look at insults to other drivers; Île-de-France is number 1 ahead of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region for drivers honking inadvertently ; and the Paca region is in the lead ahead of the Grand Est and Occitanie tied with Normandy for drivers “deliberately” sticking a driver who annoys another. Ile-de-France is also in the lead regarding the very dangerous overtaking on the right on the motorway or the fact of descending to explain oneself to a driver.
While 62% of road users in France say they call while driving (42% on a regular basis), 65% do so in Auvergne – Rhône-Alpes and Normandy, compared to 57% in Brittany. When 83% of the French population admits that they sometimes take their eyes off the road for a few moments, this rises to 89% in Auvergne – Rhône-Alpes and falls to 75% in Paca.
* Survey conducted in France by Ipsos on 2,400 French people aged 16 and over, including a minimum of 200 people in each of the 12 French administrative regions (excluding Corsica) from February 20 to March 3; and in Europe, with 12,400 Europeans aged 16 and over, including at least 1,000 people in each of the countries surveyed, from February 20 to March 9.