Spaniards are not the worst drivers around!

A STUDY by the Spanish Royal Automobile Club has surveyed residents of 15 EU countries, to find out which has the worst and best habits when it comes to road safety.

While many people might believe that Spanish drivers are less disciplined behind the wheel than other European motorists, this turns out to be an urban myth.

The reality is somewhat different, though, because the Spanish are far from the worst drivers, according to an annual survey.

It was carried out by the Spanish Royal Automobile Club (RACE), in collaboration with the Association of Drinks and Refreshments, along with the support of Spain’s DGT traffic authority.

In fact, as many as 43.5% of Europeans admit to driving after drinking alcohol. But though the survey focuses largely on fatigue at the wheel, it does include other issues such as driving under the influence.

And it does allow for a fairly accurate profile of drivers of both sexes, between the ages of 18 and 75, drawn from 3,368 online interviews from drivers 15 countries: Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, the UK, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Spain has actually dropped to eighth place regarding road fatalities, with 39 deaths for every one million inhabitants, which ranks the country below the European average of 51 per million.

Sweden has the lowest road-fatality rate, with 25 deaths per million residents, followed by Britain (27) and Denmark (32).

At the other end of the scale, Romania tops the list with 99 fatalities for every million residents, followed by Bulgaria (89) and Croatia (80).

The survey points out that 90.1% of Europeans use the car frequently, Spaniards scoring above average with 91%, while 97% of Italians are regular drivers.

In other areas, 78.9% of Europeans use their vehicle for leisure, while 11.6% use it for professional reasons, similar to those in Spain.

The Spanish make an average of 11.7 trips of over 200km annually.  The Swedes travel the furthest in their cars, covering an average of 5,159km on similar trips. And although shared car platforms are gaining popularity, 64.4% of Europeans still use their own vehicles for travel: 72.8% in Spain, despite this being more expensive than other options. Once on the road, Spanish drivers average two hours and seven minutes into the journey for a break, putting them in fourth position.

The Portuguese are tops, stopping after one hour and 45 minutes, and the Swiss and Austrians rank at the bottom, driving an average of two hours and 13 minutes on the road before resting.

In Spain, the breaks last between 10 and 15 minutes on 34% of occasions, which is fewer than the average in 11 of the surveyed countries, but behind Finland, Poland and the UK.

Meanwhile, 5.2% of Europeans recognise that they nearly always fall asleep on a long drive, although the figure drops to 2.3% in the case of Spain.

Similarly, 27% of Europeans admit that they don’t stop for a break, for up to four hours behind the wheel.

Finland has the highest number of accidents caused by driver fatigue (24.7%), while Portugal has the lowest rate (4.9%), and Spain ranks 11th with 10.8%.

The profile in these kinds of accident is a male driver between 18 and 24, who drives only now and again. He travels for work, has not had sufficient rest after more than four hours at the wheel, and takes breaks lasting no longer than five minutes.

Alcohol consumption continues to be a serious problem for road safety. As many as 43.5% of Europeans admit to driving after drinking alcohol, with 22% always or almost always driving after consumption.

In Spain, 14.4% always, or nearly always, drive under the influence, while this figure rises to 27.5% in Britain and 32.9% in France. The most responsible drivers in this respect are the Czechs, with just 6.3% drink-driving regularly.

The RACE study winds up by listing some tell-tale signs that drivers should heed, with regard to weariness at the wheel: cramps, a sensation of numbness in limbs, itchy eyes and blurred vision, dehydration… and a sensation of drifting off!


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Posted by on Aug 23 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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