A third of Britain's 'passive passengers' would turn a blind eye to drivers drinking alcohol at the wheel ... and 93% are too scared to criticise a partner's road skills

More than a third of British passengers would turn a blind eye to if a driver was drinking alcohol at the wheel, a new study has revealed.

The research by Privilege car insurance reveals that even in extreme circumstances, most passengers would not challenge dangerous behaviour. 

Nearly half (45 per cent) of UK adults admit that they would not intervene if a driver hit another person’s vehicle or property and drove off.

Out of place: Worryingly, more than a third of people wouldn't say anything to a driver drinking alcohol

Out of place: Worryingly, more than a third of people wouldn't say anything to a driver drinking alcohol

Overall, one in ten UK adults (10 per cent) would not challenge dangerous driving habits when they are a passenger in a car, even if they felt that their personal safety was at risk. And only 63 per cent would speak up if

Charlotte Fielding, head of car insurance at Privilege said: 'Most of us are taught to adhere to a "my car, my rules" mentality from a young age but, as this research suggests, this is leading people to overlook illegal or downright dangerous behaviour.

'While there might be a negative connotation behind the idea of a "backseat driver", with many seeing them as a nagging thorn in the driver’s side, it’s clear that the UK’s passengers need to stand up for their own safety.'

It seems that passengers are backwards in coming forwards with those they do not know and feel least comfortable reprimanding professional drivers.

Despite their role as a ‘driver-for-hire’, more than one in 10 UK adults (12 per cent) admitted they would not question their cabbie’s conduct. Similarly, almost a fifth (17 per cent) said they would not say anything to a bus driver if they felt unsafe.

Hello? Nearly a half of passengers wouldn't speak up if the driver was on the phone

Hello? Nearly a half of passengers wouldn't speak up if the driver was on the phone

Conversely, people find it easier to challenge those that they are closest to, with 93 per cent of passengers saying that they would feel comfortable criticising their partner’s driving.

In the instances where partners do keep quiet, men are far more likely to do so to avoid an argument (31 per cent of men vs 22 per cent of women).

Proving that passengers are putting manners before their own safety, when asked why they would not challenge a driver if they felt unsafe, one in five people (22 per cent) admitted that they simply want to avoid any confrontation.

However, this is needlessly cautious, as the average driver (50 per cent) said that they would listen to feedback on their driving from others in their car.

Only 11 per cent of motorists said that they would ignore any concerns raised by their passengers, although an antagonistic seven per cent admitted they would amplify their dangerous driving if someone spoke up.

The research also highlighted that men are twice as likely to ignore their passenger’s criticisms (14 per cent), compared to female drivers (eight per cent).

Reasons to ‘keep mum’ also varied depending on people’s relationship to the person behind the wheel. Motherly love clearly trumps common sense, as over a fifth (22 per cent) of passengers assume that everything will be okay with their mother driving, even if they felt that they were driving recklessly.

UK adults also seem to worry about their job security more than their physical safety, with 23 per cent not pulling up their boss’ bad driving in case they appear rude or ungrateful.

However, there are some situations which prompted people to be more outspoken. Passengers are more likely to raise concerns if there are bad weather conditions (53 per cent).

People are also more likely to be vocal if a child is travelling with them (53 per cent) with women, far more likely to speak up than men, in such a case (60 per cent of women vs. 46 per cent of men).

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