|Says:||dr Anna Orzeł|
|Function:||Manager of the logistics major|
|Company:||Lecturer at the WSB University in Wrocław|
The driving culture in Poland is improving. However, negative emotions on roads are still visible
Poles are among the most aggressive drivers in the world. Violating the right of way, horn overuse and dazzling other drivers with headlights are their major misdemeanours. Poles are often guided by emotions while driving, although their behaviour has improved significantly over the last decade.
As demonstrated by the study by the Motor Transport Institute, more than 80 percent of Polish drivers display aggressive behaviour on roads at least once a week. Every third of the surveyed admitted to engaging in such misdeeds. The types of behaviour that drivers complain about the most include dazzling with headlights, dangerous lane changes, aggressive overtaking, yelling and using the horn excessively. As shown by the report “Polish people on the road 2.0 – drivers’ expenses”, more than 30 percent of tickets are for uncultured behaviour behind the wheel, including improper manoeuvres.
“Drivers’ behaviour is primarily influenced by time. When we are in a hurry, it seems everyone is getting in our way. Actually, we are the source of this pressure, which is not caused by what is going on on the road. If our attitude while driving was different, the road would probably seem friendlier,” dr Anna Orzeł, Manager of the logistics major and lecturer at the WSB University in Wrocław, told the Newseria Biznes news agency.
The most frequent reasons for uncultured behaviour on the road are the inability to cope with stress, going through negative life events and having a tendency towards aggression. The report by the Motor Transport Institute demonstrates that Polish drivers resemble those from southern Europe, who are known for a fiery temperament and expressive displays of emotions.
“If we look at Polish drivers in the European context, we are quite good in terms of dynamics and, first of all, in terms of driving with consideration. This is the most important factor that distinguishes us, while we are much more temperamental. Apart from that, in Poland there is social consent for exceeding the 50 km/h speed limit,” dr Anna Orzeł said.
Aggressive behaviour on the road is one of the most frequent causes of transport accidents. The data of the National Police Headquarters show that in 2016 almost 26 percent of collisions were caused by drivers violating the right of way, and nearly 9 percent arose from a failure to keep the safe distance between vehicles. However, experts agree that in the last decade the driving culture in Poland has improved manifestly.
“In the 1990s the so-called Turkish driving style prevailed, and the driver behind the wheel was the lord and master. In the last decade we have leaned towards the Norwegian driving style, that is being more polite and letting pedestrians pass. There are many positive changes, although emotions still rule,” dr Anna Orzeł said
According to the expert, the development of new technologies has a crucial impact on the improvement of driving culture in Poland. Innovative solutions such as automatic braking systems, cruise control, systems monitoring the dead zone and keeping the vehicle on the lane all contribute to the sense of security and confidence behind the wheel, at the same time reducing the level of stress and aggression.
“In the logistics major we are enthusiastic about telematics, which are solutions calculating the time needed to reach the destination and enabling the driver to plan the road and improve driving fluency. “I hope that with the development of smart cities and approaching the smart city 3.0 model, the driving style will improve,” dr Anna Orzeł stated.
Driving style changes are also influenced by the increasingly popular car sharing system. Drivers are aware that any defects caused by improper operation may entail financial penalties. Thus, they pay more attention to driving economically and to the technical condition of the rented car.
“When I use this form of car rental, I notice that the cars are really clean, which is really positive. So far, the apps have not contained information on the car’s cleanness, but it is clearly visible that drivers take good care of these cars and pay attention to where and how they are parked. Thanks to that, the general attentiveness and driving culture is developing considerably,” dr Anna Orzeł said.
The courtesy behind the wheel day celebrated on 5 April reminds drivers of the need to stay polite when driving.
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