Americans Admit to Some Scary Driving Habits in New Survey

Though speeding can get drivers in trouble, tickets aren’t the worst consequences of bad driving habits. In fact, some car insurance companies claim that as many as 90 deaths or more happen every day, and some could’ve been prevented by following basic car safety rules. 

Hankook Gauge Index recently surveyed American drivers to learn about their driving habits. And the results are scary. 

What the survey reveals about car safety and driving habits

Scary driving habits including checking your phone messages while driving, like this man sitting behind the wheel of a car
Bad driving habits including checking your phone messages on the road | Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

According to Hankook, vehicle maintenance is an important factor in ensuring car safety. But it turns out, 28 percent of the people who took the survey don’t know how to change a tire or don’t have them rotated periodically.

Interestingly, millennials are the most likely to change a tire when necessary. The survey indicates that 61 percent report they have the proper tire jack in their vehicle to do it if needed, while 12 percent claim they don’t know how to change a tire.  

Asked about their driving test, 10 percent of drivers admitted they failed their first test, while a handful reported they have driving habits today that wouldn’t pass any test now.

And when it comes to tires and wear-and-tear, 14 percent of American drivers surveyed claimed they occasionally hit their brakes too harshly or turn too fast. 

What is the worst habit many drivers are guilty of?

Among the worst things while driving are distractions. They can divert your attention from the road for a few seconds, which is long enough to get into a car accident. 

Some things that can divert drivers’ attention include texting, interacting with the infotainment system, and even turning around to children with tasks. But texting is the worst because it can take a driver’s eyes off the road for approximately five seconds. That’s “roughly the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed,” Hankook reports.

The survey also reveals that 24 percent of people sing at the top of their lungs when they drive, and 21 percent eat behind the wheel. Other distractions that aren’t quite as bad as texting, which 11 percent of surveyed drivers admitted to doing, are putting on makeup or shaving while driving, which 3 percent claim to do. 

NHTSA’s goal to combat bad driving habits

One of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s goals is to combat poor driving habits so that fewer accidents happen each year from distractions. Education is by far the most important way to get the point across to drivers, but the NHTSA wants to make it even more effective. 

One way is by empowering teens to speak up to their friends when they see them texting while driving. The NHTSA reports that teens are likelier to listen to their peers than anyone else. Parents can step up and be good examples to their kids by always driving without distractions. Basically, parents should instill good driving behaviors early on. 

While the NHTSA works with state and local officials on laws to prevent distracted driving, you can help by getting involved and supporting those laws to ensure they get passed.

We’ve all had our not-so-great moments while driving, but they don’t always amount to anything serious. However, on occasion, one distraction for only a few seconds can result in serious injury or even death if we’re not careful. By pledging to be distraction-free, we can lower the number of car accidents every year. 

RELATED: 5 Most Dangerous Driving Behaviors in 2020

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