Nobody wants to think of himself as a bad driver. In fact, psychologist Mark Horswill of the University of Queensland discovered that most drivers rate themselves as above average, even after performing poorly on a test of their hazard perception. The ugly truth is that somebody has to be among the worst drivers in the world. The question is, who?
What, Exactly, Do You Mean by ‘Worst’?
According to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory data, 1.24 million people around the world die each year on the road. When it comes to driving, that’s about as bad as it gets. When it came down to deciding which countries had the highest rate of traffic fatalities, the WHO’s data revealed the Dominican Republic as having the worst drivers in the world, with a death rate of 41.7 per 100,000 population. Thailand was next with 38.1, followed by Venezuela with 37.2 and then Iraq with 34.1. Overall, it seemed that income played a significant role in fatality rates, with low- to middle-income countries having higher rates than high-income countries.
Keep Things in Perspective
When contemplating bad drivers a little closer to home, fatal road crashes in Australia have generally been on the decline, according to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport. This is fantastic, but don’t skimp on getting the right car insurance quotes in Australia just yet: The Northern Territory had a traffic fatality rate of 20.44 per 100,000 population in 2012, well above the next highest rate of 7.61 in Western Australia. The good news, however, is that Australia on the whole only has a rate of 5.78.
You don’t have to cause a fatality to be a lousy driver. There are plenty of things we all do and encounter on a daily basis that seriously affect our ability to drive. For instance, simply singing along to your favorite song can cause your driving performance and ability to perceive hazards to decrease significantly, ScienceDirect.com reported. Also something as seemingly benign as your daily drive to work or school can result in deadly complacency. A 2010 study by three European professors revealed that well-known routes do not fully engage the brain, making it much easier to make mistakes and get into accidents. So if you want to stay sharp, take a different way to work often.
Speaking of complacency, it may seem counterintuitive, but traffic signs can actually lull drivers into a false sense of security. When there are no traffic signs, drivers are forced to slow down and pay more attention in order to avoid collisions with other drivers.
Maybe You’re Just Driving the Wrong Car
Of course, maybe your car is to blame. The most recent Private Fleet Driving Survey revealed Audi drivers to be the worst, with the highest percentage of respondents admitting to texting or otherwise engaging their phones while driving. Renault and Jeep drivers came in as second and third worst, respectively. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the teens who did the most texting, but rather the 26-40 crowd.