Lockdowns fuelled bad driver behaviour on SA roads, insurer says
The Covid-19 lockdowns worsened SA motorists’ bad driving habits, including non-adherence to rules of the road, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
A study by Dialdirect Insurance compared driving behaviour data from thousands of motorists, obtained through its telematics app, from 2019 to 2021.
It found that for every kilometre driven in 2021, motorists were 40% more likely to be in an accident than in 2019.
One of the driving behaviours examined was speed, which, according to the company, is a major contributing factor to most road accidents in the country.
“The data revealed that during lockdown periods, the percentage of people who drove above the speed limit has almost doubled, with male drivers the main culprits.
“We have also found that driving above the speed limit makes you 80% more likely to be involved in an accident,” said Anneli Retief, head of Dialdirect Insurance.
She said high speed was possibly due to the fact that there were fewer cars on the roads during the hard lockdown.
Put down the phone
The study found motorists also ignored the dangers of using a cellphone while driving.
According to Retief, motorists were using their devices 50% more while driving than they did before lockdown.
This, she said, could be due to the surge in virtual meetings.
Motorists under the age of 30 used their phones about twice as much as those older, the research found.
“Regardless of age, our data points to the chilling fact that those who use their phones while driving are twice more likely to be involved in an accident,” said Retief.
Bonus of curfew felt on roads
Motorists, the study found, also flouted curfew rules.
“This is concerning because we have found night-time driving increases your chance of being involved in an accident by 60%,” Retief said.