There’s no doubt that there are some shocking drivers on Australia’s roads and new research has confirmed just how dangerous Aussies can be when they get behind the wheel.
The results of the finder.com.au Safe Driving Report 2018 has found as many as 62 per cent of Australian drivers admit to dangerous activities when they’re driving. The survey questioned the driving habits of more than 1,800 and found that the equivalent of 10.9 million Aussies are engaging in risky behaviour on the road.
For 38 per cent of people, eating takeaway food behind the wheel was their most dangerous driving habit. And while thongs are comfortable to wear on warm summer days, 31 per cent admit to wearing flip flops on their feet while driving. Meanwhile, 20 per cent of drivers say they send text messages when behind the wheel, while 13 per cent are guilty of answering the phone.
Anyone who has ever had kids will know it’s all too easy to reach into the back of the car to deal with children, with 13 per cent revealing they’re guilty of taking their eyes off the road to do this. An additional 14 per cent admit to smoking.
One in 10 drivers admitted to steering with their knees, while some other interesting risky behaviours were also revealed. This included 1 per cent of people admitting to having sex while driving, using Google Maps and even driving on the wrong side of the road.
“I’m sure everyone is guilty of doing at least one of these before, but drivers shouldn’t be sacrificing their safety for the sake of convenience,” Bessie Hassen, car insurance expert at finder.com.au said. “While eating or smoking while driving may not sound particularly problematic, the reality is that anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road can be dangerous.”
She said while the high use of mobile phones behind the wheel is concerning, it had also decreased year-on-year.
“Overall, phone use is down to 25 per cent from 34 per cent in last year’s research,” she said.
The survey found New South Wales and South Australia had the safest drivers in the country, while Victoria and Western Australia were the most risky states. In addition, Gen Y was found to be the most risky generation of drivers, with 78 per cent admitting to reckless behaviour. Baby Boomers were found to be the safest drivers, with 59 per cent admitting to never doing anything risky.
Hassan warned drivers to think about the risks if their behaviour caused a car accident.
“Not only is it extremely risky, but texting or calling behind the wheel could result in a hefty find as well as demerit point loss – and this is before a crash has even occurred,” she said. “If you’re deemed to have been driving recklessly or engaging in risky behaviour behind the wheel and you are in an accident, you may not be able to claim the damage on your insurance.”
Comprehensive car insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by illegal activities such as texting while driving. Other risky behaviours included 8 per cent of people using social media while driving, 6 per cent falling asleep at the wheel, 5 per cent changing their clothes and applying make-up and 2 per cent watching a movie or reading.