Aussie drivers struck by ‘storm smugness’ on wet roads
Research from Suncorp Group's insurance brand AAMI has shown many drivers are quick to point fingers at other motorists for poor driving in the rain, even though many confess to not taking simple steps themselves to keep our roads safe in the wet.
Off the back of the Bureau of Meteorology issuing severe weather warnings for Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, Suncorp Group’s insurance brand AAMI has released research indicating many Australians have an inflated sense of their driving skills in the wet.
It seems only a small percentage of drivers believe road accidents in the rain are the result of their own weakened driving skills. AAMI reports that only 13 per cent of Aussie drivers admit their skills are hindered in rain, while almost half (44 per cent) believe other motorists are not as slick on wet roads.
Alarmingly, despite one third of Australian drivers (34 per cent) confessing to having had an accident in the rain previously, many still admit they do not employ basic precautions to keep safe on wet roads.
AAMI’s research identified that one in five drivers say they don’t avoid sudden breaking or reduce their speed, and one in six said they don’t drive more cautiously, leave extra distance between the car in front or put their lights on for better visibility.
Matt Pugliese, AAMI’s Head of Motor Claims says that adopting safe driver behaviours is critical to preventing future accidents on wet roads.
“The research suggests there might be a case of Aussie drivers having a blind spot when it comes to their own wet weather driving ability,” he says.
Too many Australian lives are impacted each year by road trauma, we want to encourage all drivers to take the time to play it safe when behind the wheel.Matt Pugliese, AAMI Head of Motor Claims Victoria and Tasmania
“We all know the roads are more dangerous in the wet as drivers have to contend with slippery roads, poor visibility and longer stopping distances.
“More of us need to take the necessary precautions – the small adjustments are worth it so you don’t become another wet weather crash statistic.”
Queenslanders appear to be most susceptible to 'storm smugness’ with just 10 per cent believing they’re worse off in the wet, while 47 per cent accuse their peers of shoddy skills. The state also tops the charts for the highest number of self-reported incidents in the rain (40%).
New South Wales drivers were not far behind when it comes to the blame game (16% for self-perception vs 47% perception of others, 30% self-reported incidents), while Victorians may be the more realistic drivers, with 13 per cent rating themselves worse in the wet compared with 40 per cent of other motorists (33% self-reported incidents).
Those under 40 are identified as the worst culprits exhibiting risky driving behaviour, with 59 per cent admitting to not driving with extra caution in the rain, and 62 per cent not paying extra attention to other motorists. This relaxed attitude has led to more than a third of this demographic having at least one accident in their driving career.
With the wet weather season upon us, Australian Road Safety Foundation CEO and Founder Russell White is urging motorists to scrub up on their inclement weather driving behaviours.
“As a driver, you need to remember you have a responsibility to drive safely for yourself, your passengers, other road users and pedestrians.
“Too many Australian lives are impacted each year by road trauma, we want to encourage all drivers to take the time to play it safe when behind the wheel,” he says.
“Reducing the road toll will require a change in our beliefs and our cultural paradigms towards road risk, and we can start this journey by collectively building our wet weather driving resilience.”