Accidents can happen in a split second by a moment’s inattention, particularly if you are travelling at speed, and can lead to the loss of your no-claims bonus and perhaps injury to yourself and others. It really is worth being aware of behaviours to avoid when you are at the wheel and how to best maintain your concentration.
A high percentage of ‘driver distraction’ accidents are caused by a driver eating or drinking at the wheel. Glancing down to unwrap a sandwich or open a can of drink can result in a collision or the car going off the road. Drivers are notoriously inaccurate in their estimates of how long they take their eyes off the road for – it is wiser to assume that it’s always longer than you think and even a few seconds can be too long. Pulling into a service station to get a drink and a snack gives you the opportunity to get out of the car and stretch your legs, helping refresh you on a long journey.
Many motorists continue to talk on their mobile phones, even though using one without a hands-free facility is illegal. If you need to make or answer a call, wait until you can safely pull in and park before you do so.
Handling CDs or adjusting a radio or CD player is another frequent cause of distraction. The wise advice is to ask your front seat passenger to change the music for you – if you are driving on your own, wait until the traffic comes to a halt or until you can pull in. As a longer-term solution, getting a radio or CD control fitted to your steering wheel provides for safe volume adjustments.
One of the major safety upgrades has come with the development of satnav devices. Many drivers took the risk in the past of trying to read a map or directions while driving. The tip to those motorists who don’t have a satnav device in their car is: get one as soon as possible! There are a number of inexpensive but effective satnav models on the market now.
Rowdy back-seat passengers can prove to be hazardous for a driver trying to control them. Providing children with computer games and activities to keep them happy can also help to remove potential distractions for the driver.
Finally, some of the more bizarre but worryingly frequent driver behaviours that the police report seeing on motorways includes women spotted using the driving mirror to adjust their make-up, men shaving, and both men and women leaning out of their drivers’ windows to take a look at an attractive image on a roadside poster.
This information was provided to you by Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk).