NZ drivers labelled "lazy and dangerous" in AA survey
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New Zealand drivers have been labelled "lazy and dangerous" following a recent survey done by the NZ Automobile Association.
An AA Driving School survey was completed by almost 3000 AA members and questioned participants on driving habits, other road users and road safety.
The survey found that within seven days of driving 85 per cent of survey respondents saw other motorists exceed the speed limit, 64 per cent saw motorists drift out of a lane or park inconsiderately and 63 per cent say they saw someone run a red light.
More than a third of Kiwis admitted feeling unsafe while driving and most don't have confidence in the ability of other motorists.
AA Driving School general manager Roger Venn said this perception points to an incredible level of potentially lazy and dangerous driving taking place on our roads.
"One of the main reasons for the lack of confidence in other's abilities is people claiming to see plenty of motorists ignoring basic road rules and road courtesies.
"If that's the case, there is a real need for better education and enforcement of some of these driving basics."
The survey also found that motorists were more likely to point the finger at others than recognise any of their own driving slip-ups.
"There's a definite disconnect between the number of people driving badly and those taking ownership for it," Venn said.
"If we were all driving as well as we think we are then confidence levels on the road would be a lot higher.
"We know experienced drivers struggle to consistently indicate, check blind spots, do their mirror checks, tailgate and avoid distraction from their phones - these are all bad habits that have crept into people's driving routines."
Despite a high percentage of driving misdemeanours, survey participants rated feeling safe on the road and being aware of other road users as the two most important factors when driving.
These two selections came ahead of getting to a destination on time or being courteous to other road users.
Venn said the results show a lot more work needs to be done when it comes to being courteous on the road.
"We found that of the courtesies you can show while driving, motorists appreciate being thanked with a wave or similar gesture the most.
"The problem is not enough of us are doing it, or seeing it."
He said a large part of improving driving is to change the way we think about it.
"Driving is like any other skill, you need to put in the time and refresh your knowledge to ensure you're not letting bad habits stick."
The only way to recognise your own bad habits is to have someone hold up a mirror and tell you, Venn said.
"Often that ends up being young people doing professional lessons, who then go home to mum and dad and call them out on the things they're doing wrong.
"A simulated on road test, which replicates a driving test, or other types of professional driver training can also help motorists recognise and then work on the weaknesses in their skillset."
Police national road policing manager Steve Greally said New Zealand had a shameful road toll and scored near the bottom of the OECD in road safety.
The survey results come after the country experienced one of the deadliest periods on NZ roads this year to date, with 15 people killed within the first fortnight of October.
The spate of horror crashes has brought the road toll to 300 for 2017, 45 more than this time last year.
Police national road policing manager Steve Greally said in an earlier Herald article that most crashes came down to the drivers' decisions with speed, alcohol and not wearing a seatbelt being the key factors in most fatalities.
Speed could be attributed to 30 per cent of fatal crashes and an increased population and cheaper petrol meant more people were on the roads which was also affecting numbers.
Ahead of the Labour Day long weekend, the NZ Transport Agency is encouraging motorists to check their hotspots map and avoid travelling during the times of heaviest congestion.
"Increased traffic, tiredness and driving in unfamiliar environments can make driving over the long weekends stressful," says NZTA's journey manager Tresca Forrester.
"Remember you're sharing the road with many others, you have a responsibility to be courteous and patient to ensure you look after yourself, your family and other road users.
"When traffic is heavy, a safe speed might be lower than the posted limit. We urge everyone to be patient, relax, and enjoy the journey."
• 85 per cent of survey respondents saw other motorists exceed the speed limit.
• 64 per cent saw motorists drift out of a lane or park inconsiderately.
• 63 per cent say they saw someone run a red light.
• More than a third of New Zealanders feel unsafe while driving and most don't have confidence in the ability of other motorists.
• AA Members rated feeling safe on the road and being aware of other road users as the two most important factors when driving.