Gps Racers: 23% Of Uk Motorists Admit To Dangerous New Driving Game

29 July 2011

Sainsbury’s Car Insurance today extends a serious warning to motorists tempted by the “fun” side of their Global Positioning System (GPS) while they’re on the move. The supermarket bank’s new research reveals that, in the last year, 7.2 million drivers(1) have raced to a destination to beat the predicted arrival time on their vehicle’s GPS.

After entering their destination in their vehicle’s TomTom or Garmin, for example, drivers are presented with an estimated time of arrival which millions frantically try to beat once on the road.  Sainsbury’s Car Insurance has dubbed these individuals ‘GPS racers,’ involved in a potentially dangerous new driving game.

Given the popularity of new driving technology, millions of people now rely on their vehicle’s GPS system to navigate their way, even for relatively short journeys.  However there is a danger that some drivers may adopt risky driving behaviours, even subconsciously, when trying to ‘beat’ the original predicted time of arrival on their GPS clock.

Almost 3.6 million(1) motorists admitted to breaking the speed limit when racing against their GPS to reach their destination in the last 12 months.  A further 322,000 drivers admitted to overtaking when prohibited from doing so and 241,000 have tailgated other vehicles in an attempt to save time.  Shockingly, over 161,000 drivers have flashed their lights or gesticulated at other drivers to try and get them to speed up so they could race to their destination.

Ben Tyte, Head of Car Insurance, Sainsbury’s Finance said:“Our research shows a worrying trend of drivers racing against the projected arrival time set by their GPS systems. Used correctly GPS units are a fantastic invention that help drivers navigate effectively and concentrate on the road far more than when using maps or printed directions.  However, we are encouraging drivers using this new driving technology to have the safety of any passengers, other road users and pedestrians at the forefront of their minds and not be tempted to become GPS racers.”

The findings(1) also reveal some staggering behaviours with 1.2 million GPS racers admitting to having  driven through amber lights changing to red.  These drivers are even prepared to race across roundabouts and crossroads with over 570,000 admitting they did not slow down appropriately for these junctions.

Sainsbury’s Car Insurance’s research(1) reveals that in some extreme cases, the driving behaviours of GPS racers have resulted in collisions and crashes.  Over 144,000 GPS racers admit to having being involved in a collision with another vehicle or hitting a parked car in the last 12 months.  A further 216,000 motorists have hit the curb while driving erratically and dangerously.  These driving habits resulted in 1.1 million passengers and drivers having arguments and heated exchanges.

Risky behaviours displayed by GPS racers

Regional findings

More residents of the Yorks and Humber region admit to GPS racing than any other area of the country, while residents of the North East were the least likely to race against the clock on GPS systems.

Table One:  Regional breakdown of GPS racers in the last 12 months

Location Percentage of residents that admit to GPS racing
Yorks & Humber 20%
London 18%
South West 17%
East Midlands 17%
Scotland 15%
West Midlands 15%
North West 14%
Wales  14%
South East  12%
Eastern 10%
North East 7%


Source: Sainsbury’s Car Insurance

Sainsbury’s new car insurance products offer customers with a Nectar card a discount of up to 15% on their premiums and the opportunity to earn double Nectar points on their shopping for two years – equivalent to an extra 1% off their bills(2) .   For those regularly spending £100 a week, the additional saving could be as much as £52 a year which is equivalent to 6.4% of the average car insurance premium(3) .

As well as offering competitive premiums, Sainsbury’s Car Insurance offers two options of cover, a standard policy and a Premier product. Both products offer some of the widest range of cover and benefits available in the marketplace.  For example, both new policies enable all named drivers to earn their own no-claims discounts, which only 15.9% of policies available in the market allow(4) .  Similarly, they both offer a courtesy car as standard(5) . Research from Defaqto shows that only 53.3%(4) of policies across the market offer this (subject to availability).

Sainsbury’s Premier Cover Car Insurance also offers a range of enhanced benefits including a guaranteed like for like courtesy car which means a family’s large seven-seater will be matched with another so that they can carry on as normal for the duration of repairs – only 1.9% of policies offer this. It is also among the 15.9% of policies that guarantee a courtesy car for 21 days or more following a total loss of your vehicle(4).

For further information on Sainsbury’s Car Insurance, call 0800 092 9934, visit or pick up a leaflet in store.

– ENDS –

For further information, please contact:

Phil Anderson/Andrew Adie
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7638 9571

Notes to Editors:
(1) ICM interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2005 adults aged 18+ via online between 10th and 12th June 2011.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted (grossed-up) to the profile of all adults (over 18s).  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information at

(2)  Sainsbury’s new car insurance product provided by RBS Insurance is available to new customers only. Those shopping at Sainsbury’s with their Nectar card already receive points equivalent to 1% off their shopping. Holding Sainsbury’s Car Insurance or another one of the supermarket bank’s qualifying reward products, doubles this Nectar reward. A customer with a qualifying Sainsbury’s Finance reward product who spends £100 a week in store will therefore receive the equivalent of £52 worth of extra Nectar points a year.

(3) According to research from, the average car insurance premium in April 2011 was £814.80. £52 as a percentage of this equals 6.38%

(4) Defaqto research (May 2011),commissioned by Sainsbury’s Finance.  Defaqto is an independent financial research company

(5) Courtesy car offered as standard on both policies (fully comprehensive). Subject to availability on Sainsbury’s Car Insurance. Like for like guaranteed on Sainsbury’s Premier Cover Car Insurance

Sainsbury’s Finance:
To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury’s Finance online media centre

Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Finance provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times.  Our products consistently top Best Buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.

Sainsbury’s Finance recent awards include Best Overall Online Provider, Best Direct Personal Loans Provider, Best Online Credit Card Provider, Best Online Life Insurance Provider at the Your Money Awards 2010.

Sainsbury’s Finance is a joint venture between J.Sainsbury plc and Lloyds Banking Group.

For further information and general Sainsbury’s Finance enquiries customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit

About RBS Insurance

RBS Insurance is the second largest general insurer in the UK1 and is wholly owned by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Headquartered in Bromley, Kent, it has operations in the UK, Germany and Italy.

It provides a wide range of general insurance products to consumers through a number of well known brands including; Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. It also provides insurance services for third party brands, through its UKI Partnerships division.  In the commercial sector, its NIG and Direct Line for Business operations provide insurance products for businesses via brokers or direct respectively.

In addition to insurance services, RBS Insurance continues to provide support and reassurance to millions of UK motorists through its Green Flag breakdown recovery service and Tracker stolen vehicle recovery and telematics business.

1 Based on policies in force 2010.