Is it the SUV or is it the driver?
- 54% of people say SUV drivers are the most annoying on the road
- Yet 35% say the SUV’s status symbol is a draw
- SUV sales rose 6.6% in January while overall car sales decreased
- School-run mums are considered to be the most likely SUVs drivers
The number of SUVs in the list of the top twenty most popular vehicles has almost doubled since 2013, increasing from four to seven. However, new research by leading independent vehicle professionals, OSV Ltd, reveals that there seems to be a correlation in the growth in the number of people who think badly of the SUVs – and their drivers. Although just over a third (34%) of people said that they would consider buying an SUV in the future, more than half (54%) said that owners of these vehicles were some of the most annoying drivers on the road, a description most often used when referring to the driver of a more traditional 4×4.
So, what is it about the SUV that gets other driver’s goats?
- By far the most popular complaint about drivers of these vehicles is their tendency to hog the road, with 42% of other drivers saying they don’t allow other road users room to pass.
- Bad parking and inconsiderately straddling spaces, is a further source of serious irritation to a third (33%)
- While almost as many survey respondents (31%), said that lane hogging on motorways is particularly annoying.
There are now an estimated 100 models of SUV on offer in the UK. Overall car sales decreased in January 2018 by 6.3%, while SUV sales rose by 6.6% during the same period, bucking the overall trend. Somewhat surprisingly, given their original purpose, the primary reasons given for purchasing SUVs has nothing to do with practicality. While only one in five (20%) say they purchased or would purchase an SUV for the driving experience, 35% say status symbol is a draw, while for 26% it’s all about aesthetics.
As for who’s driving these beasts of the road, the perception is that the majority of SUVs are owned by school-run mums, with more than a third (37%) of survey respondents indicting this demographic. A smaller number directed their wrath at farmers (23%) and businessmen (22%).
OSV joint company director, Andrew Kirkley comments: ‘SUVs are becoming the world’s most popular vehicles, and yet, as this research shows, a huge number of people – half of all drivers! – are vocal in their dislike of them. However, I think that the real truth is that people don’t actually dislike the SUVs, they dislike the way that many people drive them.
‘Because the vehicles are big and can sometimes appear unwieldy, in crowded city areas SUV drivers can seem inconsiderate. And because the vehicles are at the more expensive end of the spectrum, they do carry a certain status, which combined with inconsiderate behaviour creates a negative impression.
‘With affordable rental contracts available though, practically anyone can drive an SUV today, which is why I think we’re seeing growing numbers on the roads. We just need to try and focus on more thoughtful driving now!’