One in six drivers thinks it's completely legal to run a red light

A view of a traffic junction in Leeds city centre, where a thrush has built its nest inside a traffic light (centre).

One in every six British motorists thinks it is legal to run a red traffic light, according to new research into annoying driving habits

The study, which quizzed 2,000 drivers in the UK, found that one-sixth thought driving through a traffic light was not a problem, despite the fact it is an offence that carries a penalty of three points.

However, the research found that 22 per cent of respondents thought jumping the lights was one of the most annoying bad habits on the road.

This was far from the most irritating habit, though, with checking a phone (52 per cent), throwing rubbish out of the window (50 per cent) and tailgating (48 per cent) making up the top three.

Hogging the middle lane of the motorway was also counted among the most annoying traits, being cited by 26 per cent of those questioned, but this still lagged behind not indicating (31 per cent) and cutting people up (33 per cent).

The study, which was commissioned by insurance company Admiral, also discovered that a massive 77 per cent of drivers thought that basic road manners should be taught as part of learner drivers' training.

Admiral spokesman Alistair Hargreaves said: "We were shocked by the number of people who think it's legal to jump a red light, when in fact it could land you points on your licence.

"Another interesting takeaway was how many people want etiquette to be part of a learner driver's education. We are known as a nation for being polite, and the fact the majority of people essentially want to enforce courtesy training on the road reinforces how important politeness is to British people."