Drivers in Durban are more likely to accelerate faster and brake swiftly, making them the worst drivers in the country.
This is according to the Road to a Healthier South Africa report, released by Discovery Vitality, which presents the latest insights on the physical activity levels and driving behaviour of over half-a-million Vitality members across six metropolitan cities, including Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria.
Head of Vitality Wellness Dr Craig Nossel said they are two main behaviours causing significant illness and deaths among South Africans – the way we drive and how much we move.
“More than 1,25 million people die in road accidents every year – that’s 3 425 people a day. But, we can improve these statistics,” said Nossel.
“We need to start by understanding this behaviour better and creating an environment that encourages healthier lifestyles and better driving. We aim to do just that over the next 10 weeks with Vitality Open – by making Vitality Active Rewards available to all South Africans for the first time,” said Nossel.
The Head of the Trauma Unit at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Professor Sebastian van As, says we can’t control the behaviour of other road users, but we can choose our own behaviour.
“I could quote many stats on road accidents. They all boil down to one chilling fact: almost 90% are caused by bad driving behaviour – simple.
“This is where we must start if we want a safer, healthier South Africa,” he said.
The driving data in the Drive Well Index considers ABC events (acceleration, breaking, cornering), phone usage, speeding and night driving.
The report based on the data collected over three years from 2016 found that Durban drivers are country’s worst, followed by Pretoria and Johannesburg.
The medical aid scheme report also revealed that Capetonians are the nation’s safest drivers, followed by Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein.
It said Capetonians are less likely to use their phone while driving and in Johannesburg, drivers are the least likely to drive at night when roads are considered dangerous.
When compared to the rest of the world, Discovery said South Africa is poor in terms of driving behaviour.
“South African roads rank among the most dangerous in the world, with a death toll of 22,5 for every 100 000 people. These deaths also have a vast impact on our economy, with an estimated cost of over 3,4% of our overall market value of goods and services or GDP.”