HOW BAD ARE YOU? A distracted driver doesn't just have to use a mobile phone to be a bad driver. What bad habits do you have behind the wheel? Image: Shutterstock ~ Shutterstock
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - What risky behaviour do you engage in while you’re driving? New research has revealed drivers’ worst vices at about 100km/h on the UK’s busiest roads.
The survey found that 57% admitted opening a bottle and having a drink while driving, 48% change CDs, 35% have eaten a sandwich and 29% are distracted by adjusting their satnav.
In South Africa, according to Arrive Alive, distracted driving is described as "an epidemic sweeping our roads". The National Highway Traffic Administration puts cellphone use at the top of the list of our driver distractions.
Many South African respondents in an informal survey admitted the following misbehaviour while driving at about 100km/h: putting on lipstick, doing their hair, checking their appearance in the mirror, turning around to check on children, brushing their teeth and even shaving!
According to John October, spokesman for Dial Direct: “Research showed that 15% of people surveyed reached for items in the glove compartment at the same time as driving at about 100km/h. While this activity might seem innocent and actually has become commonplace, it could be deadly, as could all these other driving habits.”
Local drivers claimed that because of rushing to get to work they often finished getting ready in the car.
The informal survey also revealed that eating and drinking was commonplace with many South Africans sipping their morning coffee in the car (accident waiting to happen!) or eating breakfast or lunch while on the road.
Tuning the radio or inserting a CD was another major vice for South Africans.
“It’s very important to concentrate at all times while driving by making sure that your focus is always on the road ahead. Even taking your eyes off the road for just a second can cause you to have an accident,” says October.
Take control of bad driving habits by following these tips:
• If you use a GPS then follow voice-activated directions.
• Tune your radio, or plug in your iPod, before you get in the car and insert any music you want to listen to before leaving home.
• Keep arguments and intense chatting for when you’re not driving. Avoid this kind of interaction until you reach your destination.
• Keep youngsters occupied with electronic devices or sing-a-long CD's of their favourite music and snacks so that they don’t distract you while on the road.
• If something falls into the footwell while you are driving then leave it there until you reach your destination. If you must retrieve it, pull over.
• Never text, browse the web or catch up on social media while driving. Your phone is a massive distraction so turn off the internet access on your phone while you drive.
• Use a hands free device if you can’t bear to be separated from your cell phone.
• Keep your eyes on the road at all times. If there is something that simply cannot wait, then pull over safely onto the side of the road.