A new piece of research on driving habits has found those most likely to result in a crash. The bad news is, many of drivers are doing them daily or weekly.

Rooster Insurance looks to reward good driver habits. Looking into claims data and policy holder responses, the most dangerous have been compiled.

It probably comes as no surprise that typing messages, checking phones and even taking phone calls not using hands-free top the list.

It’s for you

Scarily, 34% of drivers surveyed confessed to using their phone while driving to check for messages, send texts or take a call. This is illegal. If caught using a phone while driving, motorists can be fined £200 and given 6 points on their licence. Furthermore, talking using a hands free set up has been found to be equally dangerous behind the wheel.

Of those who check or use their mobile phone while driving, checking a message or notification flashing up (17%) tops the list. However, needing to check something before reaching a destination (16%), or just to pass the time (11%) also register alarm bells.

Nearly 1 in 10 (8%) admitted to using their mobile phone while driving simply out of boredom, while 5% do it out of habit.

Quick reactions

The survey of 1,000 UK motorists carried out by the insurer found these habits are common place. A large proportion of drivers admit to such actions on a daily basis. This is made even more concerning when considering he fact that such revelations are often a conservative picture of what’s actually taking place.

After illegal phone usage, the insurer’s data found that speeding was the fourth riskiest driving behaviour on the list.  Over a quarter of drivers confess to doing this on a daily basis. The latest official statistics show an increase in speeding over that last year. Lockdown and relatively empty roads led some extreme activities. However, the trend generally, especially in urban areas, has been increasing willingness to disobey speed limits.

Nights out

Interestingly, a perfectly legal activity, driving late at night appeared fifth on the list of driving behaviours most likely to result in an accident. This is something 1 in 5 (21%) drivers confess to doing. The reduced visibility, tiredness and distraction, along with less traffic encouraging faster driving on sometimes icy or wet roads can lead to problems.

Tailgating appeared next on the list, with just under 1 in 10 (9%) of drivers confessing to doing this regularly or often.

The next risky behaviour was another perfectly legal – if ill-advised – activity: driving when tired. More than 1 in 10 (13%) admitted doing this. It can cause careless driving as motorists’ attention levels are inhibited by exhaustion.

Looking the part

Incredibly, putting make up on, shaving or doing your hair took spot number eight. Vanity can obscure the drivers view of safety for 9% of drivers every day. Meanwhile, eating at the wheel appeared next with 11% of those surveyed confessing to munching regularly at the wheel.

Heavy braking completed the top ten of risky driving behaviours according the insurer’s data, and 11% doing this every day or week. Not only is this potentially dangerous, it is also very uneconomic, increasing wear and tear. It also increases the release of pollutants and emissions.

Not so common sense

Richard Tucker, founder at Rooster Insurance, comments: “Some of the riskiest driving behaviours our data has flagged up are to be expected. There are laws in place to deter people from doing them, but there were a number of surprising things on the list which are perfectly legal. As a result many will be exhibiting completely innocently. Surprising things like heavy braking, driving when tired or late at night may not seem unsafe, but they can significantly increase the risk of an accident and aren’t worth the risk.”

The top 10 riskiest driving behaviours according to Rooster Insurance:

  1. Typing messages or emails
  2. Reading messages or emails
  3. Speaking on the phone not using hands-free
  4. Speeding
  5. Driving late at night
  6. Tailgating
  7. Driving when tired
  8. Putting make up on / shaving / doing hair
  9. Eating while driving
  10. Heavy braking