Australians are misbehaving behind the wheel in alarming numbers.
New research from comparison website Finder has revealed the shocking and dangerous habits of Australia drivers.
The survey of about 1000 revealed Australian drivers are eating while driving, texting, changing clothes, reading books and even shaving.
Eating food while driving was the most common bad habit with about six out of ten drivers admitting to this poor behaviour.
Most of these acts could be interpreted by authorities as not having proper control of a vehicle, which in many states comes with a huge fine and the loss of demerit points.
Fines can range from $100 and one demerit point to as much as $2500 and three points depending on what state you are in. Most states average a fine of several hundred dollars and the loss of several demerit points. For example, in NSW drivers could be slugged $464 and three points.
Two out of every 100 hundred drivers admitted to reading a book or newspaper while driving and one per cent said they had shaved while driving.
Almost one in ten drivers said they had answered phone calls by bringing the phone to their ear and 13 per cent said they had manually texted while driving. That’s despite years of government campaigns to educate road users about the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.
These offences carry huge fines and the loss of demerit points in all states. During double-demerit campaigns using a phone while driving can almost wipe-out a driver’s licence in one go.
The centre for Road Safety says that at 60km/h, if you look at your phone for just two seconds, you travel 33 metres without your eyes on the road.
Most new cars for the past decade have come with Bluetooth technology that allows drivers to answer phone calls hands-free.
Finder car insurance specialist, Taylor Blackburn, says drivers need to keep all distractions out of reach.
“With the internet in their pockets, people today are bombarded with notifications – whether from email, text messaging or social media – anywhere they go.”
“Anything that makes it difficult to focus on the road should be avoided,” he said.
Nearly every new car sold today has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which mirrors your smartphone on the central display and allows you to use voice commands via Siri and Google assistant.
Five per cent of drivers said they had applied make-up or changed clothes while driving.
Dealing with kids in the back seat was also an issue, with one in 10 parents admitting to doing this.
Australians also admitted to replying to emails and checking social media.
But it wasn’t all bad news. About 40 per cent of respondents that said they never indulged in these bad driving behaviours.