Safe Driving Report 2017

Next time you see someone driving erratically, take a closer look.

According to our new report, there’s a good chance they’re eating, texting or making a call. There’s also a reasonable chance they’re smoking, dealing with a child in the backseat or applying makeup, and a possibility that they’ve fallen asleep, are reading a newspaper or just decided to see how far they could go with their eyes closed.

We polled 1,800 Australian drivers about their riskiest habits. Find out who Australia’s most dangerous drivers are, and why.



Safe Driving Report 2017

Next time you see someone driving erratically, take a closer look.

According to our new report, there’s a good chance they’re eating, texting or making a call. There’s also a reasonable chance they’re smoking, dealing with a child in the backseat or applying makeup, and a possibility that they’ve fallen asleep, are reading a newspaper or just decided to see how far they could go with their eyes closed.

We polled 1,800 Australian drivers about their riskiest habits. Find out who Australia’s most dangerous drivers are, and why.

Microsleeping, reading and texting: The dangerous things Australians are doing behind the wheel

If you ask whether someone’s a safe driver, they’ll probably say yes. But when start getting specific, most Australians will admit to being pretty dangerous drivers. When you look at what exactly Australians do while driving, it’s clear why accidents happen.

How many Aussies admit to driving dangerously?

Across the nation, most drivers in every state admit to doing dangerous things on the road.

Dangerous DriversSafe Drivers
70%30%

Breakdown by state

 StateDangerous Drivers
Western Australia75%
Victoria71%
South Australia69%
New South Wales68%
Queensland68%

What are the most common risky habits?

Parents of young kids are over  4 times more likely to text and drive (43%) than those with adult children (9%).  1 in 7 Australians have driven with their knees. 1 in 10 have had a microsleep behind the wheel.

What else are Aussies guilty of?

Not all drivers are made equal either. Eating and sleeping join smoking, steering with your knees, shaving, applying makeup, texting or even reading a newspaper as dangerous activities Australians participate in while driving.

Dangerous Activities Percentage of Australians
Eating takeaway47%
Sending a text message28%
Answering a call directly to their ear27%
Smoking20%
Reaching back to deal with a child19%
Driving with knees14%
Microsleeping9%
Applying makeup8%
Changing clothes7%
Reading a book3%

Those surveyed also admitted to other dangerous activities, including electric shaving behind the wheel, killing spiders, and challenging themselves to drive for as long as possible with their eyes closed.

So how does your state measure up?

By state, Western Australians are the riskiest drivers, with 3 out of 4 people distracting themselves while driving. South Australians were the safest, but even then 2 out of 3 drivers still admitted to dangerous behaviours.

Nationwide, almost 1 in 10 drivers have taken a microsleep behind the wheel before, but residents of New South Wales in particular need to stop, revive and survive with 13% admitting to a nap on the road.

Texting is also more popular than making a call, even while driving. 28% of drivers have sent texts on the road, compared to only 27% answering calls directly to their ear. Queenslanders might be a bit old fashioned, as the only state with more drivers making calls on the road instead of sending texts.

Let's break it down a little more

  • Baby Boomers are the safest drivers with 42% never having done anything dangerous whilst driving.
  • Generation X is the most likely to smoke and drive at 25%, compared to 20% of Baby Boomers and 13% of Generation Y.
  • Ooh la la! 14% of women admit to applying makeup behind the wheel.
  • 25% of women admit to reaching into the back seat to deal with children, compared to only 12% of men.

Can car insurance help us?

Everyone knows that other drivers can do scary things, but now it’s clear why. If you’re one of the few Australians that doesn’t take risks behind the wheel you’ll definitely want to have the insurance to protect yourself from the rest.

And if you are, you might want to check your cover, as Bessie Hassan, insurance expert at finder.com.au reminds, ”Drivers should know that if an accident is caused by illegal activity behind the wheel, some comprehensive car insurance policies may not cover them for damage.”

No matter how you drive, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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