Scientific driving behaviour measurement finds Port Elizabeth is home to South Africa’s best drivers

Port Elizabeth drivers have grabbed the top spot as South Africa’s top drivers by displaying good driving behaviour characteristics. After two years in operation, and after collecting over 800 million kilometres of behavioural data,  Discovery Insure reveals some interesting insights based on the driving behaviour of over 10 000 South African drivers as measured by Discovery Insure’s driver behaviour programme, Vitalitydrive. Our client analyses show that Port Elizabeth has the best drivers in South Africa. Runner up to Port Elizabeth was Cape Town followed by Johannesburg.

These findings are based on Discovery Insure’s analysis of the components of driving behaviour such as harsh braking, sharp cornering, acceleration, speeding, accidents, and late night driving. The findings come at a time when our country is struggling with a high road accident death rate. Each year, around 14 000 people lose their lives in road-related accidents in South Africa.  These results are interesting, but what is more important is the success of the programme in changing behaviour, regardless of location or make of car. Discovery Insure data shows that drivers who start out on the lowest driver status, in other words, drivers who are considered poor drivers, improve their behaviour by 21% within the first 12 months.

This is how the cities rank

We analysed the driver behaviour data of Discovery Insure clients who live in the main metropolitan areas of South Africa. It was measured using the latest telematics technology, called DQ-Track. The top five cities are:

Rank Area/City
1 Port Elizabeth
2 Cape Town
3 Johannesburg
4 Pretoria
5 Durban

According to statistics that peg the number of road deaths at up to 38 deaths per day, over 1 000 people die on the roads each month in South Africa. “This is too high, and is usually exacerbated by poor driving behaviour, and a disregard for road rules,” notes Anton Ossip, Discovery Insure CEO. Road accidents currently cost South Africa’s economy over R300 billion each year. This high loss of life and expenditure, Ossip believes, can be reduced through encouraging South African drivers to become better, more cognisant drivers. When drivers become better on the road, and more aware of their driving behaviour, more lives will be saved, says Ossip.

Understanding driving behaviour

The best drivers were found to be in the older age groups, and the worst drivers in the over 18 – 25 age group. Furthermore, based on Discovery Insure data, women still rank as better drivers compared to their male counterparts. The data also revealed that non smokers were better drivers than smokers.

Early indications are that smokers are worse drivers too. If we can help more people to stop smoking, it can impact all areas of their lives,” says Ossip.

How can we improve driving behaviours?

A countrywide improvement in driving behaviour is imperative, as recent studies show that the majority of accidents are caused by reckless driving, and not abiding by the rules of the road.

“People, says Ossip, can improve their driving behaviour by taking into account speed limits on the roads when travelling, braking less harshly, turning corners smoothly and not so sharply, and driving in the day, and early evening when visibility is better, instead of late at night.

With the recent shocking spate of road accidents in the country, it is more important than ever to ensure road safety and reduce the country’s high death rate. This says Ossip, begins with proper driver education, improving driving behaviour and an understanding of the road rules, and ensuring all drivers are appropriately licensed for the vehicles they drive.

However, Ossip says “it is important to note that an improved awareness is not enough to change driver behaviour. We believe that creating attractive incentives for drivers and providing them with the tools they need to understand and improve their own driving behaviour will go a long way in helping our country’s drivers become better drivers.”

The findings also revealed that Hyundai drivers showed the best driver behaviour compared to other makes of vehicle. The data showed the following:

Rank Make
1 Hyundai
2 Honda
3 Opel
4 Toyota
5 Nissan
6 Ford
7 Volkswagen
8 Mercedes-Benz
9 BMW
10 Audi

These results are based on 12 months of driving behaviour of a sample size of 11 080 Discovery Insure clients.

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