Safe Driving Report 2021

More than half of Aussie drivers have admitted to dangerous habits on the road.

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Next time you see someone driving erratically, take a closer look.
According to Finder's Safe Driving Report 2021, 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 925 Australian drivers about their riskiest habits. Find out who Australia’s most dangerous drivers are.

Plain text version: Safe driving report 2021

  • 10.4 million Australian drivers have taken their eyes off the road for reasons ranging from applying makeup to reading a book.
  • The percentage of Australians indulging in dangerous driving has fallen over time from 70% in 2017 to 59% in 2021.
YearPercentage of dangerous drivers
201770%
201862%
201961%
202159%

What are the most common risky habits?

  • The most common dangerous driving habit is eating a meal behind the wheel (45%)
  • 28% have driven in thongs, up from 25% in 2019
  • 18% have smoked behind the wheel
  • 13% have texted without using voice control

Which of the following have you done in the act of driving?

ActivityPercentage of Australian drivers
Eaten food45%
Driven in thongs28%
Smoked18%
Texted (without using voice control)13%
Reached back to deal with children10%
Answered a call directly to my ear (not using handsfree)8%
Driven with my knees7%
Used social media6%
Microslept6%
Applied makeup5%
Changed clothes4%
Replied to an email3%
Watched a movie/TV show3%
Read a newspaper/book2%
Shaved1%

How does your state stack up?

  • South Australians are the worst offenders, with two-thirds (70%) admitting to reckless driving habits.
  • New South Wales drivers are by far the safest, with 44% claiming they've never done anything risky behind the wheel.
  • Western Australians are the most likely to have driven in thongs (40%), in comparison to only 24% of drivers in Victoria.
  • 1 in 17 drivers admit to having had a microsleep, but New South Wales drivers are the worst offenders when it comes to falling asleep behind the wheel (9%).
  • Queenslanders and South Australians have a bad habit of eating behind the wheel, with nearly half of drivers (49%) admitting to snacking on the road.

Men vs women

  • Men are the worst offenders, with 62% admitting to doing something dangerous behind the wheel, in comparison to 57% of women.
  • Women are equally as likely to drive in thongs as men.
  • Men are more likely to text (14%) or use social media (7%) on the road.
  • Men (46%) are more likely to indulge in a meal behind the wheel than women (43%).
  • Applying makeup and reaching back to deal with children are the only activities women are more likely to engage in than men.

Further breakdown

  • Aussie parents are more likely to be distracted drivers (70%) than those without kids (55%).
  • Older Aussie drivers are far safer than younger drivers, with 62% of baby boomers stating they've never done any hazardous driving.
  • Dangerous driving has declined over time. In 2017, 70% of drivers admitted to engaging in reckless behaviour on the road, compared to 59% in 2021.
  • Regional drivers are more likely than metro drivers to have smoked a cigarette while driving, driven with their knees or had a microsleep.

Can car insurance help us?

You might be surprised by how many Aussies are driving recklessly. If you're one of the few Australians who don't take risks behind the wheel, you'll definitely want to have the car insurance to protect yourself from the rest.

And if you are, you might want to check your cover. Taylor Blackburn, insurance expert at Finder, says "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 also won't cover damage that's been caused by illegal activities such as texting and driving."

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

Picture: Unsplash

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