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The city with the worst traffic also has the best drivers

Monday, January 28, 2019

Are men better drivers than women? What’s the worst South African city to drive in? These debates have raged around the braai for years. TomTom recently settled one of these arguments by revealing Cape Town has the worst peak hour traffic and commute times (if you’re a passenger, you can stream an entire episode of Marvel’s The Defenders on your way to work). Now, a new report reached another conclusion: Cape Town motorists are leading by example when it comes to good driving behaviour.

The report, called Road to a Healthier South Africa, tracked the things that drivers do that annoy, distract or jeopardise their fellow motorists. The honour of having the best drivers (or possibly just the most cautious) in the country goes to Cape Town, adding to its impressive list of accolades such as the most responsible city and the top travel destination. 

Durbanites who’ve been complaining about their fellow drivers, now have evidence to justify their frustration as the city came in last in the rankings. Port Elizabeth has the second-best drivers in the country followed by Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The cities were also rated in several other categories. Cape Town drivers were less likely to use their phone behind the wheel as opposed to Bloemfontein motorists who are most at risk of typing a text or answering a call while driving. Bloemfontein also ranked last for another deadly sin on the road – speeding. Cape Town once again shines in this category, followed by Johannesburg. Joburg produced the best results in the category “night time driving” – meaning drivers there are less likely to hit the road during the night, one of the most dangerous times on the road. In last place for night time driving is Bloemfontein.

Last year, it was reported that the death toll on South Africa’s roads, over a decade, is equivalent to wiping out the entire population of Midvaal municipality in Gauteng. It’s a gloomy picture but if it’s any consolation: we are still better off than some first world countries. Check out Statista’s ranking of the nations with the worst drivers and the worst countries for road traffic fatalities.

As Professor Sebastian van As, Head of the Trauma Unit at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital so aptly puts it: "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. We can’t control the behaviour of other road-users, but we can choose our own behaviour. This is where we must start if we want a safer, healthier South Africa."

So be sure to keep those hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Even if you take pride in being a safe driver, you can never be too careful on the road. We recommend you check out how our car insurance products can help prepare you for the unpredictability of other drivers and improve your own.