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Sorry the hardest word for drivers

Motorists reckon hand signals can be confusing


Hands on car steering wheel

For most drivers, sorry seems to be the hardest word to say on the road, a report out today revealed.

Many motorists reckon there is no agreed way for drivers to apologise to other road users, the report from car company BMW found.

Most recognise thank you signs such as flashing the headlights to acknowledge being allowed through or a touch-of-the-brow salute.

Hand signals

But the most common form of indicating apology – the upraised hand – was open to ambiguity, the report showed.

When it comes to the message drivers would like to express but cannot, most said it was ‘sorry’, said the report, entitled ‘The secret life of cars and what they reveal about us’.

Based on responses from around 1,000 drivers, as well as observation of in-car and car park behaviour, the report found:


  • There is a trend towards ‘green-upmanship’, with vehicle owners wanting to appear as environmentally-aware as possible in their choice of motor;
  • The car is the place not only for arguments between couples but also some of the most meaningful and intense of discussions;
  • Men who usually drive invariably get first choice of where to sit in a car if they are travelling as a passenger;
  • Children tend to sit in the back, with youngsters thinking it strange if one parent sits in the rear;
  • The number of people singing in a car increases as the weather brightens, with four times as many people bursting into song in the morning rush-hour than in the evening peak;
  • Men can get out of a car, lock up and walk away in eight seconds, while families can take anything from one minute to 10 minutes for ‘disassembly’;
  • Drivers in south-west England and Wales prefer blue-coloured cars, while those in Greater London are most averse to green and Scottish drivers are most likely to choose red.

The report concluded: ‘The car has to be consistent with other elements of our lives and to evolve to meet our changing lifestyles.

‘New technologies must adapt to us, rather than us to them if they are serve a purpose and survive. The contemporary car has evolved to fit in with the age in which we live.’

The Press Association, All Rights Reserved.

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