Advertorial : Common causes of distracted driving

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Distracted driver

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).

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

10 Comments

  1. I think the biggest distraction to safe driving is people day dreaming; Their driving along thinking about work, family, the film they watched the night before, their thinking about anything & everything (except the actual driving) because driving is so easy once you’ve learnt, car’s are so quiet & comfortable so people drive along day dreaming. There are millions of vehicles traveling around the country & no-one is actually driving because the nut behind the wheel is on autopilot!

  2. But if you have a no-fault prang – don’t worry. We’ll have your motor fixed at a glacial pace, put in a spurious claim for whiplash and then double your premium the next year.

    Heads we win, tails you lose! Ker-ching!!

  3. Illegal use of a mobile phone, safety wise equivalent drink driving, 6 points on the license for the offence, yet the number of idiots who disregard the law, why not make the offence a mandatory 12 week driving ban?

  4. People have hands free yet they still drive around unable to satiate the urge to text or piss about on facebook,that ten times worse than actually being on the phone.

    Yet all the sanctions against the perpetrators dont stop this ocurrance,i dont think a 3 year ban or kneecapping the driver will be a deterrant either.

  5. @ Francis Brett 3

    My girlfriend tried to do that for me on the motorway, so I pulled into the service station slipway, but it turned out to be a TURN OFF.

  6. The smelly thing dangling from the mirror!
    Distracting and exactly the same shape as the pedestrian it hides from your view. Take it down today – save a life tomorrow.
    Furry dice and a cluster of football boots – for goodness sake. Think about it!
    Driving along with a massive Costa coffee mug at your lips. The same lips that are 70mm (give or take) below your eyes! The same eyes that we see the road with – or don’t whilst we block our vision.
    When we do crash into the car in front with horrible results we must remember that had we not done so – we would have saved 20 seconds on our journey time!

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