Did you know drivers in each Australian state claim theirs has the worst drivers? But all states are not equal and some are worse in different ways. Adelaide drivers and other South Australians are the most dangerously distracted in the nation. Worse, they are most likely to crash, with eight insurance claims per 1,000 vehicles.
Australian Road Safety Foundation study this year found more than a third of South Australians admit to driving while distracted. There is no doubt the distraction caused by mobile phones is a huge problem in SA and beyond. But there are other reasons:
- Three quarters admit to breaking the road rules
- 58% admit to speeding
- 42% drive while fatigued.
There must also be a significant proportion of drivers who don’t admit to any of these things.
What insurers say
IAG says the most typical insurance claim is made after a merging collision. While South Australians made 110 claims for merging collisions, compared to 450 in NSW in 2017, there are seven times more people living in NSW. This does not reflect well on their merging skills.
AAMI says Adelaide drivers were recently rated the second worst after Canberrans for road rage. Unfortunately, 83% of Adelaide respondents said they had experienced road rage. The national average is 75%, which does not say much for drivers throughout Australia.
Last, Budget Direct found drivers tend to vote their own state as having the worst drivers. Apart from NSW drivers, everyone put NSW as having the second worst.
What is a bad driver?
While it’s easy to make claims about bad drivers, what exactly do we mean by a bad driver?
It may be more than just risking lives. In 2016, South Australia had 5.0 road deaths per 100,000, which was not quite the national average of 5.4.
SA’s Royal Automobile Association says it has more to do with skill and attitude. A bad driver:
- Does not know the road rules
- Lacks patience and common courtesy
- Cannot deal with changing conditions
- Has a sense of entitlement.
Tony Hastings, chief instructor of defensive driving training, Drive to Live, goes further. He speaks of “aggressive” drivers, who stand out by tailgating, erratic lane changing or other poor behaviour. His idea of a good driver is to “blend in with” and “read” the traffic.
So perhaps the worst drivers are the ones who are continually saying “look at me!”. Maybe there is even some pride in it. This attitude could be the most dangerous of all and the reason why too many people still die and get seriously injured on the roads.
Did you know 40% of Canberrans think they are the worst drivers in the country?