A Ford survey of British motorists reveals a lack of confidence behind the wheel.
While women believe themselves to be the safest drivers, many male and female motorists confess to potentially dangerous driving habits.
The majority of drivers reckon they could not easily pass the driving test if they took it today, with the newly qualified having the least belief in their ability to pass a second time.
Ford active safety technology
Ford's Active City Stop, available on the all-new Ford Focus, is an example of one active safety technology operating when the driver is distracted or unable to brake or respond quickly enough.
Active City Stop assists in slow moving traffic at speeds of under 20mph. If its sensors detect the car in front has stopped unexpectedly, the car applies the brakes automatically.
Voice control is available on all Ford cars today and is standard on the all-new Focus range (from Edge to Titanium X), enabling the radio station or music track to be changed, climate control adjusted and a phone call to be made - all without the drivers taking their eyes off the road.
Ford's survey reveals an interest in future technologies such as the vehicle automatically dialling the emergency services in the case of an accident (a feature of the SYNC system which will be available on Ford vehicles in Europe in 2012) or inflatable rear seats belts.
Men or women: who's safer on the road?
Nearly half of all women believe they are safer behind the wheel, a view shared by only one in five males.
Adrian Walsh, director of motoring safety partnership RoadSafe, said: "Women are generally much safer drivers than men; every piece of substantial research done on this subject reveals that. Fundamentally it’s because they take fewer risks."
Driving test anxiety
Around 67 per cent of drivers are not confident they would easily pass the driving test if they had to take it again today. Worryingly this is highest amongst the newly qualified, with 73 per cent of 17 to 24 year olds not confident of passing a retest.
Said Adrian Walsh: "The driving test is primarily about skills, it’s not a measure of motoring attitudes. It’s the attitude this age group takes to risk which has a negative impact on road safety.
"Males aged 17 to 24 are high risk drivers, and so are involved in proportionately many more accidents.
"There is a need for people to learn again how to drive. Advanced driving lessons are an extremely good idea."
Bad British driving habits
The most dangerous pastime at the wheel is texting (including posting messages on social networks using a handheld phone). The 10 per cent of UK drivers texting on the move doubles among 17 to 24 year olds.
The data shows other hazardous behaviours are frequently displayed at the wheel. Motorists confess to being driven to distraction: changing the CD or radio station is the most common habit (by 60 per cent), followed by driving with one hand (40 per cent), eating and drinking on the move (30 per cent), driving when tired (20 per cent) and talking on a handheld phone (10 per cent).
When asked which features and new technologies would make drivers feel safest, respondents ranked airbags first (32 per cent), Active City Stop (19 per cent) and voice control (11 per cent).