Australia’s dangerous driving habits revealed

These mobile apps might help you save some money.

These mobile apps might help you save some money. Photo: Getty

A new survey has revealed more than half of Australians are multi-tasking while driving, putting at risk not only their lives but the lives of others.

Finder surveyed 1090 Australians to find out just how many people are distracted while behind the wheel and found that 56 per cent of people are guilty of not paying attention.

From texting while driving to eating food behind the wheel, to even watching a TV show or movies, plenty of motorists admitted to doing something they shouldn’t while behind the wheel.

The respondents of the survey were asked if they had multi-tasked behind the wheel in the past 12 months.

‘Reckless habits’

Of those who weren’t giving the road their full attention, the biggest distraction was eating food, with 42 per cent of people admitting to doing so.

And 23 per cent of people wore thongs instead of more suitable shoes while driving.

Not surprisingly, people can’t give up their phones even when they are driving: 13 per cent of people admit to shooting off a text, by hand, not voice control, and 9 per cent have used social media while driving.

New technologies and busy lifestyles have brought on an increase in reckless habits like texting while driving,” Gary Hunter, car insurance expert at Finder, said.

“Driving a vehicle requires undivided attention but more and more people are driving blind.”

The most common ‘deadly distractions’ while driving:

  • Eaten food: 42 per cent
  • Driven in thongs: 23 per cent
  • Texted, without voice control: 13 per cent
  • Smoked: 13 per cent
  • Reached in the back to deal with children: 9 per cent
  • Used social media: 9 per cent
  • Kissed a loved one: 8 per cent
  • Changed clothes: 7 per cent
  • Watched a movie, TV show or streaming service: 7 per cent
  • Replied to an email: 7 per cent
  • Shaved: 6 per cent
  • Answered a call directly, not using hands-free: 6 per cent
  • Driven with knees: 5 per cent
  • Applied make-up: 4 per cent
  • Read a newspaper or book: 4 per cent
  • Micro-slept: 3 per cent.

Mr Hunter said that some drivers treat their cars like their second home but some  tasks they are doing behind the wheel put themselves and others at risk.

“What might seem harmless like putting on a jumper or digging into a take-away meal could result in a higher risk of crashing which could lead to injury or worse,” he said.

“Drivers can cop fines and even prosecution if they have a crash and it is determined they were distracted.”

According to Finder, younger drivers are more likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviour, with 78 per cent of Gen Z respondents saying they multi-task while driving.

Safety switches

There are a few switches drivers can make to ensure they are being safe on the road.

Instead of reading or watching a TV show, Mr Hunter suggests listening to a news podcast.

To prevent texting while driving, voice to text can be enabled on smart phones and it means drivers can still respond while on the go.

As for driving in thongs, a more suitable pair of driving shoes should be an easy swap, though it would be best to make sure you’re wearing the right shoes before you put the key in the ignition.

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