What’s going on Behind The Driver’s Wheel

chillAre we a nation of safe drivers or do we spend our time scoffing our food whilst listening to heavy metal, applying our lip-gloss, shaving our facial hair and wearing our heels?

A result of a survey carried out by online insurer Chill Insurance gives us the skinny on our driving habits!

The age of those taking part in the survey ranged from ages 18 to those aged over 65. The main contributors were in the 25 – 35 and 35 – 44 age groups.

Personal grooming

A staggering 70% of those surveyed stated that they have never put make up on at traffic lights but that of course does mean that 30% of those surveyed do!   Adding to this we have to bear in mind that over 51% of those taking part were men and some of those included the more mature man aged over 65 who don’t normally indulge in such habits!

The survey also revealed that 87% of those who took part said they didn’t style or brush their hair while driving. Thanks heavens for that then!

When it comes to shaving facial hair at the traffic lights 6% of those surveyed owned up to having done it in the past!

Staying Alert

When it comes to keeping alert at the wheel 49% said they would open a window and let some fresh air in.   Only a quarter stated they would use music for this purpose.

To have noise or not to have noise!

Personally I am a “no noise” kind of a driver but I am in the minority with over 67% of people choosing to listen to quiet music and feeling that it helps them drive more carefully.

A whooping 12.81% use loud music to keep focused on safety! Just shows how different we all are!

Where music is allowed in the car the big question for those who are not travelling alone is; who chooses what is being listened to? Do we give our choice of songs over to our passengers or our children?

Amazingly enough we don’t, as drivers over 85% of those surveyed admitted that they made this choice themselves!

When it comes to listening to music the most popular genre of music for us to listen to while driving is pop music. This was the choice of over 41%.   Heavy metal fared worst in this section with only 6.5% choosing it and with 38% saying that it was more of a distraction than any other type of music.

For choice of radio station Today FM was top of the list with a quarter of those surveyed, with RTE Radio 1 the most popular with 18%. Lots of people throughout the country listen to their local radio stations.

And when it comes to signing along over half of those surveyed admitted that they would only sing along to their favourite tunes when alone in their car! I can relate to those 25% who find driving their quiet time and who are happy to not listen to radio or music whist driving.

For others they use their driving time as a chance to catch up with music or news.

Driving with Children

When it comes to driving safely we are told to keep our eyes firmly on the road using our side and rear view mirrors to check for traffic.   However the results of this survey revealed that over half of the drivers (56%) used their rear view mirror to talk to their children.   It should be noted also that over 66% of those surveyed did have children.

Head of Marketing for Chill Insurance Mr. Fergal Lynch admitted that children could be a big distraction for motorists.   He went on to state that “Although it may be tempting to check the rear view mirror to keep an eye on kids in the back seat, it’s much safer to rely on verbal communication and keep your eyes firmly on the road ahead of you.

“Even a momentary lapse in concentration can be enough to cause an accident, so it’s simply not worth taking the risk”

Eating while driving

I was looking forward to learning about the eating habits of Irish motorists! With busy lives and children heading straight from school to other activities eating en route can sometimes be the only option!   But what are we eating in our car?

Over 53% of those surveyed admitted to sometimes eating while driving with over 5% admitting to doing so often.

Of that figure lunchtime was the most popular time with almost 45% admitting to scoffing their lunch whilst driving.   Over a quarter of those surveyed scoffed their brekkies whilst driving too!

Good news for service stations is that over 38% of drivers on long journeys choose to stop and purchase their sambos and snacks with them. McDonalds got 23% of the road trippers stopping to purchase their grub.

Only 8% of us stop at service stations to eat our own homemade snacks. I remember picnic days with my parents when we used to stop at lay byes and have our fill. We also used the water pumps to clean up after. You know those old fashioned ones? Yea I know I am showing my age.   With all the motorways now though, stopping at lay byes is probably not the most pleasant or healthiest pastime watching cars fly by puffing out their toxic exhaust fumes!

For those drivers who had their pet with them the most popular choice of seating for their pet was in the back seat.   However over 76% of those surveyed didn’t have a pet.

The survey makes interesting reading and is also timely in this festive season when road trips in bad weather conditions are more prevalent.   Taking our time, watching the road and avoiding any distracting activities is the best choice in my opinion for both ourselves and other road users.

Until next time … keep the faith

Dolores Andrew-Gavin, Author, Empowerment and Assertive Coach, Energy Therapist and Safe Driving Advocate!

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