Driver Safety Survey

A new survey conducted by Honeywell reveals that many European drivers aren’t aware of the important safety and health benefits that properly using the car’s air conditioning system bring.

Based on results of a survey of drivers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, here are the top 10 tips to remain safe and alert as European drivers travel to their holiday destinations with temperatures hitting the high 20s and beyond this summer.

Top 10 Tips

1 Keep cool and stay alert: Studies suggest that ambient temperatures above 22°C could cause drowsiness and dull drivers’ alertness, but nearly half (49 %) of European drivers do not turn on the air conditioning until the temperature has hit 28°C.

At 27°C degrees driver reaction times are 22% slower than at 21°C. So setting the car’s air conditioning to 21-22°C helps keep drivers cool, alert and responsive.

2 Clear the air: Although nearly half of European drivers (48 %) don’t know it, car air conditioning systems remove up to 88% of the pollen and other allergens in the outside air. So turn on the air conditioning to help keep drivers sneeze- and headache-free.

3 See clearly: When driving at higher altitudes or in mountains, the outside temperature can rapidly drop, causing condensation to build up on the windscreen and impairing visibility. Although one in five (20 %) of European drivers are not aware, turning on the air conditioning quickly and effectively removes moisture and condensation from the windscreen, allowing drivers to maintain optimum visibility of the road.

4 Take a break: While it is tempting to keep driving for long stretches in order to reach your destination more quickly, driver fatigue is a major risk factor, causing as many as one in every three road accidents. In addition to keeping the cabin temperature below 22°C to increase alertness, remember to take at least a five-minute break for every two hours of driving. If you feel tiredness is taking you over, then pull over and rest up for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

5 Stretch your legs and arms and back: When you take a break, find a safe place to park your car and step outside to stretch completely. This helps maintain alertness and wards off fatigue.

6 Limit your speed: Driving at higher speeds requires greater concentration and causes drivers to tire more easily. Speeding is also a major cause of accidents. Limiting your speed is not only good for you, it’s good for the environment, too. Speeding does not pay off – not only is it illegal, it does not save that much time: on a distance of 120km, driving at 150kmh instead of 120kmh saves a little over 10 minutes.

7 Stick to the rules: Knowing and respecting the rules of the road is a key factor in ensuring road safety. Many Europeans will be crossing national borders on their long holiday drives this summer. It is important that you are completely familiar with the rules of the road in the countries in which you are driving. They may be different from those at home.

8 Be equipped: In the unfortunate event of a roadside breakdown, it is important to remain highly visible to other drivers, so ensure you are equipped with a safety kit before you set out – in many cases it’s the law!

9 Do not use your phone: If you must make a call when driving, use a hands-free set. If you do not have one, pull over when it is safe to do so to make that call. And never text and drive!

10 And never, ever, drink and drive: It may go without saying, but it bears repeating – even if some countries allow a minimum blood-alcohol level, play it safe and never, ever, drink and drive.

Full Survey results

pdfHoneywell Air Conditioning Survey Infographic

pdfHoneywell Air Conditioning Survey Graphs

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Survey findings are the result of an online study conducted among a sample of 2,501 respondents ages 18 or older who drive a car, of whom 501 were from the UK and 500 each from France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Survey respondents were selected from an online panel. Data collection occurred between 17 and 24 June 2015. The survey was conducted by ORC International.

Disclaimer: As survey respondents were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.