Everyone knows they should not eat behind the wheel or speed, but research has shown most British drivers are doing just that. Ignoring safe driving practices can have even more serious consequences than having to make a claim on one’s car insurance or seeing one’s premiums rise.
Dangerous Driving Practices
Data from the Office of National Statistics has shown that while there was a seven percent fall in road accident fatalities from 2013 to 2014, the figure has stayed largely level over ten years. Now, new research from The Co-Operative Insurance has found that the majority of drivers in the UK are carrying out dangerous driving practices as a matter of course.
Most (53%) of the respondents to the poll admitted to eating and drinking while at the wheel, while 12% use the time to smoke. Furthermore, six percent even apply make up or put on clothes while they are in control of the car, making safe driving impossible.
Are Most Drivers Speeding?
The Co-Operative Insurance also found that speeding is a very common habit for dangerous driving. Just ten percent of respondents said that they drove “to the speed limit.”
43% admitted that they are more likely to drive too fast if they are in a bad mood, while 16% tend towards speeding if they are tired and driving to or from work. Function leader at The Co-Operative Insurance Grant Mitchell described the findings as “alarming” and pointed out that, in ordinary day-to-day life, driving is one of the most perilous activities.
How Dangerous Is It?
Being encased in metal is no guarantee of safety from the consequences of dangerous driving. Data from the road safety charity Brake shows that 48.6% of people who die on the road are in cars at the time, most of whom are on trunk or countryside roads. People in the front seats are more likely to be killed, comprising 88% of in-car deaths.
The Effect on Car Insurance Premiums
Death and injuries are the worst possible outcomes of dangerous driving, but even a relatively minor accident will still have a knock-on effect on other drivers.
Mitchell pointed out: “Every time a driver has to make a claim, due to their own or another vehicle users irresponsible motoring habits, it undoubtedly has an effect on the motor insurance premiums of all drivers which is massively unfair on responsible road users who have to ultimately pay for other’s mistakes.”
Car insurance fraud is also causing hikes in premium prices, according to data from the AA. Its British Insurance Premium Index for the three month to the end of June showed that motor insurance premiums had risen by more than 11%. Even the Shoparound index, which finds the average of the three cheapest car insurance policies, rose by 11.5%.
President of the AA Edmund King blamed these rises on car insurance fraud. He noted that it is easier for motorists to tweak their data when getting quotes online to get cheaper car insurance premiums.
Additionally, drivers who are involved in accidents are making false motor insurance claims for injuries they did not really sustain. Car insurance providers then have to raise their premiums in order to cover the losses caused by fraudulent claims and lower premiums obtained by giving incorrect information.