Image: Josiah Farrow

Aussie drivers struck by ‘storm smugness’ on wet roads

Australian drivers seem to be directing their high beams at others when it comes to poor wet weather driving skills, according to research from national insurer AAMI.

The findings come as unsettled, wet weather hits the eastern states of the country, ahead of a predicted storm-heavy summer season. A potential La Nina summer and more drivers back on the roads following long periods of lockdown means that driving to the conditions should be top of mind.

While just 13 per cent of motorists admit their own driving abilities may not be as slick in the wet, almost half of those surveyed (44%) believe other drivers hit the skids with weakened skills in the wet.

Alarmingly, despite one third (34%) of drivers admitting to having had an accident in the rain, many still admit to not following basic safe wet weather driving behaviours.

Around one in five said they don’t avoid sudden breaking (20%) or reduce their speed (18%) and one in six said they don’t drive more cautiously (17%), leave extra distance between the car in front (15%) or put their lights on for better visibility (15%).

Queenslanders appear to be most prone to ‘storm smugness’ with just 10 per cent believing they’re worse off in the wet, while 47 per cent accuse their peers of shoddy skills. The state also tops the charts for the highest number of self-reported incidents in the rain (40%).

New South Welshman were not far behind when it comes to the blame game (16% for self-perception vs 47% perception of others, 30% self-reported incidents), while Victorians may be the more realistic drivers, with 13 per cent rating themselves worse in the wet compared with 40 per cent of other motorists (33% self-reported incidents).

AAMI’s Head of Motor Claims, Matt Pugliese said there are increased challenges to driving in the rain and more Aussie motorists must adopt safe driving behaviours.

“This research suggests there might be a case of Aussie drivers having a blind spot when it comes to their own wet weather driving ability, but when it comes to being safe on the road, there’s no room for egos.

“We all know the roads are more dangerous in the wet as drivers have to contend with slippery roads, poor visibility and longer stopping distances.

“More of us need to take the necessary precautions – the small adjustments are worth it to ensure you don’t become another wet weather crash statistic.”

AAMI’s research identifies young drivers (those under 40 years of age) as the worst culprits of substandard driving behaviours, with 59 per cent admitting to not driving with extra caution and 62 per cent not paying extra attention to other motorists, with their confessed relaxed attitude seeing more than a third of youngsters having an accident. AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI Insurance