traffic Budapest Hungary ferenciek
Photo: Alpár Kató – Daily News Hungary ©

Every person has a different personality in their private life, workplace and on the road. Driving with a defensive attitude is the best way to avoid accidents. This means that drivers plan their trip ahead and prepare for the worst. They also take greater care on the road. What is the driving style of Hungarian drivers like, and to what extent are they characterised by a defensive mentality?

As reported by, insurance company Groupama investigated just this in addition to studying the kind of people impatient drivers are.

51% of Hungarians consider themselves co-operative, calm and proactive drivers, which are all characteristics of a defensive driver. However, in certain situations, people who consider themselves defensive drivers do not behave in an anticipatory manner. For example, only 3% of drivers in rural areas and Budapest maintain the recommended 30-40m distance in a 50km/h zone.

While there are no gender differences, age and residence influence driving behaviour; for instance, young drivers are less likely to keep the recommended distance between cars. Indeed, as people get older, they are more likely to consider themselves defensive drivers.

According to the study, only 47% of 18-39-year-olds considered themselves defensive drivers, while for individuals 60 or above, this figure rose to 54%.

Differences are even starker when the population’s residential location is considered. 44% of surveyed in Budapest believed they were defensive drivers whereas 54% of residents in rural communities affirmed they were defensive on the road. People living in the countryside are more likely to take care when driving. This could be attributed to the fast-paced lifestyle and high levels of traffic in the Hungarian capital. With increased congestion and need to change lanes frequently, it is much more difficult to be a defensive driver in Budapest.

“It is not possible for all drivers to drive defensively in all situations,” stated police officer Zsolt Berzai. “We always encounter impatient and rude drivers. However, it is important not to react and to continue our journey calmly. It’s the job of the police to deal with aggressive drivers.”

The study has shown that 92% of drivers only keep a distance of 5-10m between cars at 50km/h. It is also much more difficult to remain patient during traffic congestion; 64% of those surveyed are actively looking to change to faster lanes in traffic jams.

Zsolt Berzai believes that traffic is like a board game where everyone has to keep to the rules. Drivers not only have to consider fellow cars but cyclists and pedestrians too. Pedestrians and cyclists can also travel defensively: e.g. cyclists can wear high-visibility jackets in daylight while pedestrians can look both ways even when the light is green.

We recently communicated that Budapest’s new Mobility Plan is hoping to introduce a congestion charge for polluting vehicles in the capital. There is also an increased demand for garages in Budapest.


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