The phrase “dangerous driving” typically brings to mind classic behaviours such as drink driving, speeding and all-round recklessness.
However, people don’t often consider the dangers that lie within the car. In fact, distractions are actually one of the biggest causes of road accidents in Australia.
A recent report surveyed over 1,800 Australian drivers and found that an enormous 70% of drivers admitting to participating in potentially dangerous activities while behind the wheel. It may sound mundane, but eating takeaway food while driving is a dangerous habit that 47% of drivers admitted to doing.
More alarmingly, 28% of drivers admitted to sending text messages while on the road and 27% reported that they pick up their phones to answer a call. This phone use is symptomatic of other problems. It wasn’t too long ago that drivers were caught by police for watching movies, TV shows and even porn while driving.
Disturbingly, the statistics add up. 2% of the surveyed drivers admitted to watching a movie behind the wheel and 3% read the newspaper.
What’s also concerning is the number of parents of young children (aged 10 and under) who admitted to texting while driving. In fact, this group was over four times more likely to text and drive than those with adult children.
Nearly one in seven drivers (14%) drive with their knees, while nearly one in ten (9%) admitted to having a microsleep behind the wheel. Some participants even submitted their own activities, including shaving, applying make-up, killing spiders and challenging themselves to drive for as long as possible with their eyes closed.
Clearly these results call for more safety on the road. Roads & Maritime NSW has reported that distractions account for around 14% of crashes, and one in three of these distractions are internal, meaning that they occur within the vehicle.
Not only this, but a comprehensive car insurance claim may be rejected if it’s clear that you’ve been reckless or negligent.
Luckily, eating and driving isn’t so bad, but the distraction it causes can be dangerous. Safe driving requires concentration, so motorists should take care to eliminate any distractions and problematic behaviour.
The top 10 dangerous things that Australian drivers are doing behind the wheel:
1. Eating takeaway (47%)
2. Sending text messages (28%)
3. Answering calls directly to their ear (27%)
4. Smoking (20%)
5. Reaching back to deal with a child (19%)
6. Driving with their knees (14%)
7. Having a microsleep (9%)
8. Applying makeup (8%)
9. Changing clothes (7%)
10. Reading the newspaper or a book (3%)