31 Dec 2018

Dangerous Distractions When Driving

The dangers of distracted driving are often brushed off as minor blips in attention. However, the truth is they can have a devastating impact on you and those around you.

Maintaining full attention when in control of a vehicle is a vital part of the driving experience, yet there are some common actions which mean that focus is diverted from where it should be.

Visual distractions

These can include a multitude of things, but the most common are looking at sat nav screens or looking at objects or things going on outside of the car and away from the road. How many times has something caught your eye and grabbed your attention for a few seconds? It is incredibly common but can also lead to a dangerous lapse in concentration.

Mental distractions

There are many distractions that can affect our mental focus while driving. These include thoughts about work or chatting with passengers or making a phone call using a hands-free device. All of these, although not physically limiting our driving style, have an impact on our cognitive abilities and make it more difficult to react in a timely fashion should the need arise.

Auditory distractions

With driving very much a sensory experience, the introduction of listening to someone else on a hands-free device, music or noises from outside the vehicle can have a derogatory impact on our focus on the road ahead.

Physical distractions

Perhaps the most obvious distraction category, actions including using a mobile phone, smoking, eating or drinking all have a big impact on our ability to react to an unfolding situation ahead of us. Although it is not an offence to eat or drink while driving, if it leads to police believing your vehicle is being driven carelessly then you can be given an on-the-spot fine of £100 as well as three points on your licence.

 

A study highlighted by Brake stated that of the 11,000 drivers observed, one in six were carrying out a distracting task while driving, including talking on a phone, or to a passenger, or smoking. A study conducted by Brake also revealed a third of drivers admitted to eating at the wheel.

It is always best practice to avoid any kind of self-generated distraction, be it physical or cognitive. Give yourself the best chance of focusing fully on the road when driving to ensure the safety of you, your passengers and those around you.

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