Football fans are causing chaos on our roads claims ITV national weather sponsor Esure.
The evidence? Research carried out by TTE systems at the University of Leicester suggests that listening to sport on car radios causes two million road accidents or near misses each year.
The report claims startlingly that the average driver listens to football on the radio three times per month and‚ even less plausibly ‚ that six percent (two million people) somehow contrive to do so every day.
Tests involving football commentary and driving simulators saw fans speeding up at key moments, tailgating at times of tension, and generally driving distractedly.
A Newcastle fan (presumably topless) was monitored putting his foot down and overtaking recklessly as his team surged forward in their recent match against Pompey. Thankfully they’ll be on the radio less from now on.
A Chelsea fan depressed the accelerator when Barcelona were reduced to ten men in their controversial Champions League clash a couple of weeks back. Given the unprecedented referee-related provocations of that evening, however, increasing from an average 68mph to 73mph in moments of excitement may not seem all that dramatic. Whether he began shouting and slamming his fist against the dashboard minutes later when Andres Iniesta scored is not recorded.
Professor Michael Pont’s view was that “where possible – football fans should ask someone else to drive during important matches.”
Esure’s Mike Pickard adds: “Red cards, penalty shoot-outs, and the intensity and pace of a football match can result in sudden acceleration or deceleration, erratic lane changes, tail-gating and over-taking manoeuvres. It’s safer to get a lift, stay at home or just don’t tune in whilst driving.”
The research found that drivers in the North West listen to sport on the radio in their car most (an average 10 times a month)‚ and that’s just the ones who haven’t had their car radios nicked‚ while the Welsh listen least, presumably because you can’t pick up a medium wave signal in the valleys.
Sadly Esure and the prof went to press with their findings before this week’s Champions League final and were therefore unable to record whether traffic ground to a halt in the North West as Man U fans drove slower and slower and slower before grinding to a sobbing halt‚ an effect no doubt all the more pronounced in places with a high concentration of Reds fans like London, Bournemouth and the Far East.