One in five Kiwis text while driving, according to a new survey tracking risky driving behaviours.

The survey, commissioned by IAG insurance, also found more than 50 per cent of people said they eat or drink while driving - the most common hazardous behaviour identified. Almost 60 per cent of women admitted to snacking at the wheel.

It found 14 per cent of people - more than 1 in 8 - said they still took phone calls in the car without a hands-free device.

Distracted driving was a factor in 21 deaths on New Zealand roads in 2014, and contributed to 159 serious injury crashes, NZTA said.


Forty-three per cent of drivers said they reached or searched for objects while driving.

Men admitted to taking more chances while driving. Almost 30 per cent of males said they change lanes without indicating, compared with less than 20 per cent of women.

Men also admitted to tailgaiting and not giving way more often than women.

IAG spokesman Chris Kiddey said motorists are insured for simple negligence, but there may be no cover for crashes that resulted from gross negligence or recklessness.

The top 10 risky driving behaviours:

1. Eating and drinking while driving: 54%
2. Reaching or searching for objects in the vehicle: 43%
3. Changing lanes without indicating: 23%
4. Being distracted by a child or pet in the vehicle: 20%
5. Sending a text while driving: 20%
6. Talking on a mobile phone while driving (without a hands-free device): 14%
7. Tailgating another vehicle: 9%
8. Not giving way at a roundabout etc: 9%
9. Had a near miss with a motorbike, scooter or cyclist while driving: 9%
10. Driving a car or motorbike while wearing high heels: 8%