PE may be known as the “Friendly City”, but residents of the coastal Eastern Cape city can now also add being the country’s best drivers to their list of accomplishments.

This is according to the latest Discovery Insure Driving Challenge results, which revealed a 10% overall improvement in South African motorists’ driving behaviour compared with last year and a 22% reduction in the number of people talking on their cellphones while driving.

Based on an analysis of over 30 000 drivers who downloaded the insurer’s mobile app, PE drivers showed the greatest improvement.

What’s their secret? They don’t speed and they tend not to drive while using their cellphones.

The data reveals that drivers in large urban areas like Johannesburg and Pretoria were more frequently disposed to distractions, like talking on their phones while behind the wheel.

Cape Town drivers claimed second position, followed by their counterparts in Bloemfontein, Polokwane and Jo’burg.

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Pretoria motorists were the most distracted drivers in the country, while Nelspruit drivers – who were the worst overall – were most likely to speed.

“Overall, women score better in driving areas like smooth acceleration, balanced cornering and not speeding, while men score better in gentle braking and using their cellphones less while driving,” the insurer noted.

Just like fine wine, driving behaviour patterns developed with age, with drivers over 50 performing around 14% better than drivers under the age of 30.

Predictably, the safest drivers tend to be conscientious people, while extroverts tend to drive badly.

“In 2014, the data collected from the Discovery Insure Driving Challenge showed that if a driver uses their mobile phone once during a trip, the result is an average of 52 seconds of distracted driving. This is equivalent to driving blind for one kilometre at 60km per hour and makes the driver four times more likely to have an accident during that trip,” Discovery Insure said.

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According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, around 5 500 people have lost their lives as a result of road accidents between April and August this year. Car accidents also cost the country around R307 billion per year.

SA’s top 10 safest driving cities

  1. PE
  2. Cape Town
  3. Bloemfontein
  4. Polokwane
  5. Johannesburg
  6. Pretoria
  7. Pietermaritzburg
  8. East London
  9. Durban
  10. Nelspruit