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Not all doom and gloom for SA drivers

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Shell South Africa, in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London, has announced the results of its new ground-breaking emotion tracking research to better understand South African motorists.

Observing diverse driving conditions from three continents across the globe, the study used a combination of the latest wearable emotion tracking devices with chatbot technology, GPS, as well as weather and traffic information and personality questionnaires, to give the most complete picture of what drivers are experiencing on the road. Nearly 3 000 drivers will participate in the study across 10 countries around the world.

In South Africa, the findings revealed that despite intense traffic conditions across the country, it’s not all doom and gloom. Journey times of those studied in South Africa proved to be shorter than motorists in Europe and Asia, averaging 27 minutes per trip versus up to 40 minutes in the Netherlands and 60 minutes in the Philippines. South African motorists in the study saved more time on the road than motorists in Asia at an average speed of 35km/h, compared with just 14km/h in Malaysia and 18km/h in the Philippines.

Furthermore, the study uncovered the tactics that South African motorists are using to remain focused and calm on the roads, and an overall high-performance mindset amongst the nation’s drivers:

Move to the music: drivers who listen to music achieved the strongest driver performance scores. Similarly, drivers who made a conscious effort to relax while driving listening to music and other mindfulness techniques performed best behind the wheel.
Always look on the bright side: drivers that displayed a high-performance, optimistic mindset and are full of life achieved the highest driving performance and smoothest journeys.
Family comes first: who we drive with determines how we drive. Drivers who reported to have children, family members or friends in the car used less harsh driving techniques and achieved higher smooth trip scores.
Rural vs urban drivers: motorists in rural areas had the highest performance and smooth scores compared with city slickers.
Passion pays off: drivers who reported a passion or enjoyment of driving paid more attention to their performance on the road, and achieved higher performance scores.

Dr Chris Brauer, director of innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London, says: “The nature of this study allows us to observe not only the impact of external factors such as weather and traffic on drivers whilst on the road, but also the internal factors that we as drivers have more control over.

“Looking at drivers in South Africa, we can see that the highest performing drivers displayed an overall sense of positivity and optimism, making a conscious effort to relax and stay chilled behind the wheel by listening to music.”

Brand, fuels and customer experience manager at Shell SA, Frans Maluleke, adds: “This experiment was an interesting and valuable insight for us about our valuable customers and the South African market in general.”

“We understand that drivers face many challenges on their daily commutes. Our aim is to utilise the findings of the research to enhance the customer experience and design offers that cater for their needs.”