To all those people in the trucking industry who are leaving the ‘big wheels behind’ and are heading off in your dinky-toys over the Easter weekend, please note what Discovery Insure has found below. Think of this before you head out on the road for your Easter break. And to all our trucker friends on the road, you’ll be sharing the roads with thousands of little ‘uns. Take care of them out there.
Recent research conducted by Discovery Insure which analysed driving behaviour has shown that holiday-makers (people who drive long distances to get to their holiday destinations), drive worse and are more at risk of being involved in an accident.
The research, which compared long distance driving behaviour in-holiday seasons during 2014 to out-of-holiday season driving behaviour, shows that drivers are less patient and in more of a hurry, with speeding increasing by 26% during peak holiday times. The data also shows an increase of 5.5% in late night driving which increases the risk of drivers being in an accident by as much as 30%.
Another element of the research focused on determining the risks versus the benefits of speeding as well as not stopping for breaks during a long journey. The analysis revealed that driving from Johannesburg to Durban (565km) will take about 5.5 hours if you drive within the speed limit and stop every two hours for at least 15 minutes.
Driving faster than the speed limit and not stopping will get you to Durban an hour faster. However, it will double your risk of being in an accident – and this is without factoring in the effects of driver fatigue. This analysis clearly indicates that the risks of driving unsafely during long journeys outweigh the benefits of getting there faster by a significant margin.
Responding to all this, Discovery Insure executive director Anton Ossip says: “Improving driver behaviour is critical to reducing South Africa’s high road accident and accident fatality rate. In line with our aim to achieve a long-term positive behaviour change in driving habits, this latest research provides evidence-based tips for drivers to proactively amend their behaviour behind the wheel. It is about each of us taking responsibility and being proactive in improving the way we drive.”
Discovery Insure’s primary goal is to improve the safety of our roads by encouraging better driving behaviour through increased knowledge and awareness of what makes a good driver. “As we build our understanding of the risks associated with certain behaviours, we’re working to reduce the frequency of accidents and the cost of dealing with them while simultaneously saving lives” adds Ossip.
Adopt safer driving habits
Discovery Insure’s analysis provides the following behavioural guidelines for safer driving when travelling during the holiday season:
- Avoid leaving on a Friday as the roads are 15% busier, with worse driving. People drive worse on a Friday with increases of between 15 to 20% in harsh acceleration, braking and cornering events, as well as speeding.
- Drive better by accelerating, braking and cornering smoothly as well as by driving within the speed limit and reducing late night driving. Improving these driving behaviours reduces the risk of having an accident by more than half.
- Completing a vehicle safety check before leaving reduces your risk of having an accident by 15%.
- Avoid driving at night (between 10pm and 4am) – the chances of being in an accident late at night are 10 times higher than any other time of day.
According to Ossip, road accident claims from Discovery Insure members show that they experience a two-thirds lower fatality rate in vehicle accidents compared to the national average. “On a broader canvas, there is a 34% lower claim rate among drivers who are rated good or excellent compared to drivers who are rated poor or average,” he says.
And here’s a nice incentive to all you drivers who are linked to Discovery Insure. As a means to encourage safer driving especially during high risk periods, Discovery Insure members driving more than 300km between the 25 April and 4 May who break for at least 15 minutes every two hours and avoid travelling late at night will increase their fuel rewards by 25%. Go for it!