By Russ and Tiña De Maris
How do you as an RVer perceive yourself as a driver? If you’re anything like respondents to a 2015 U.K. survey, you probably feel pretty confident, and fairly safe on the roadway. Still, that’s not the perception that “other guys” have of RVers, at least, not across the pond.
RV insurance company Shield Total Insurance had an online survey performed of 400 British “caravan” (travel trailer) and motorhome owners’ attitudes and behaviors. This was after no small amount of backlash against RV drivers came up in the media. Seems that an auto association in the U.K. did a survey of ordinary chums, and the results – RV drivers were “Britain’s most despised drivers, less popular than cyclists, inconsiderate parkers, dawdlers, and even those blasting loud music.”
Most despised drivers? Wow! Interestingly enough, the insurance company’s own figures show that RV drivers are actually at much lower risk of an accident than other drivers in general. So, how to deal with the negative perception? Shield polled 400 RV owners to inquire about their own perception of how they drove.
You may wonder if it’s hubris, or a fact, but 83 percent of those polled said they were “safer” or “much safer” than other road users. That’s an interesting score, because another survey, performed by a nonprofit group called Brake, polled regular drivers with this same question. Their response? Of these, only 69 percent felt they were as safe or safer than other drivers.
Getting back to the survey of RVers. Among them, most said they felt least threatened by the driving of fellow RVers; but about half said they had felt frightened by the driving skills of other RVers within the last year. At the same time, 87 percent said that “other drivers” scared them out of their wits in the same time frame. OK, our words, but you get the drift.
And how about their own driving ability and care? Among RVers surveyed, risky driving including tailgating, speeding, risky passing, drifting across lines, red-light running, poor vehicle maintenance, and distracted driving was felt to be far less common than they felt among regular drivers. At the same time, nearly half did admit to breaking some traffic laws – albeit accidentally. The Brake survey of common drivers showed that far more drivers broke laws. A spokesman for Shield had this to say about the admission of law violation: “While the findings indicate that the caravanning community takes fewer risks whilst driving – including dangerous behaviour such as speeding or tailgating – the number of respondents who admit to breaching traffic laws is still too high. It’s the responsibility of every road user to behave safely at all times whilst behind the wheel, to protect yourself and all other drivers.”
We checked back to see if there’s been any change in attitude over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, the company hasn’t repeated the survey.