Drivers are constantly warned about the dangers of texting while driving, but a new study indicates that another danger has been overlooked: flirting while driving.
A survey of British drivers found that 41 percent of drivers admitted to trying to flirt with while on the move, and 15 percent conceded they crashed their car or had a near miss because they were distracted by an attractive passerby.
"Men were by far the worst culprits," said Natalie Grimshare, a spokesperson for the women's car insurance company Diamond, which conducted the nationwide survey of 3,000 drivers. The survey was released this week. Half of all men surveyed admitted to flirting with other motorists on the road, compared to just one-third of the women.
Grimshare said the survey, while conducted in Britain, would have found similar results with American drivers because they share similar vehicle values with Brits.
"We spend a lot of time in our cars," she said. "Maybe people are seeing their car as an extension of their social life."
Ian Crowder, a spokesman for British auto insurance firm AA, said a lack of concentration on the road can be a huge hazard. He said that crashes do occur because of flirting, but that drivers are usually too embarrassed to admit their mistake.
"When you're behind the wheel you're in charge of a machine that could kill somebody," Crowder said. "If you really do want to watch the girls going by, then park up."
Crowder said mistakes on the road can be costly as auto insurance rates in Britain are on a steep rise, up about 40 percent this year. The average cost of an annual comprehensive car insurance policy is about $1,260. The most common types of accidents here are rear-enders.
This is just the type of trouble Ben Moriarty, a 26-year-old Diamond employee, almost got into. He nearly rammed his tiny Mazda 323 into the back of a big Toyota jeep as he smiled at a woman on the street and tried to get her attention. How did he feel?
"Stupid," Moriarty said. "She realized and giggled. I just put my head down and drove off."
But Moriarty said that for him and his friends flirting on the road is routine. As is buying a nice vehicle to try and lure in the ladies. The survey found that 6 percent of men admitted to choosing their car to attract women.
"I've got loads of friends who've gone out and gotten themselves into a load of debt on buying a car on finance," Moriarty said. "It all goes back to the cave man mentality of a man. Same as a peacock has a nice shiny feather. It's more of a confidence thing than anything else."
The survey found that men were more likely to honk if they liked someone, while women preferred a simple smile. In addition, 63 percent of men reported being more courteous to attractive drivers.
In a previous survey, men and women rated the Aston Martin as the number one car to make people look the most attractive.
Ian Barclay, deputy chairman of the Aston Martin Owners Club, said the car favored by James Bond and others has earned its reputation. "It's good for pulling girls," he told ABCNews.com.