Calling all drivers – is your mind really on the road?
You may have read about a recent poll carried out by road safety charity Brake and insurers Direct Line that almost half of drivers admit they regularly break road laws and fail to drive according to the Highway Code.
Many of these appear to be as a result of distraction, but there are just as many who do so deliberately, and it’s apparently twice as likely to be male drivers than female.
You probably won’t be surprised to read that one of the main reasons for driver distraction is mobile phone use, found to be the cause of a number of road accidents over recent years. Also, unsafe behaviour such as speeding, tailgating and overtaking when it’s risky to do so often results in collisions or road-rage incidents which can sometimes lead to injury.
When you're distracted, it's not just other people’s lives you are putting at risk - how many news stories have you read where innocent people have been seriously injured or killed but the driver at fault has managed to walk away with much lesser injuries? But you’re also putting your own life at risk. Think about the impact on your family if you were injured or killed, or how your actions might affect them if you had to go to Court or lost your job as a result.
4 simple ways to keep your focus
It’s all too easy to become distracted when driving or be angered by other people’s driving.
In this modern age we have everything at our fingertips: it’s all too tempting to reach for your mobile while driving, adjust your Sat Nav or stereo, or reach for something in a bag in the footwell or on the seat beside you. Passengers can also take your attention away from the road; this is probably unintentional, but just engaging in a simple conversation can cause enough of a lapse in concentration to see you drift across the road.
- Turn your phone off or onto silent while driving and keep it out of sight. If you must have it in the car, keep it in a phone holder so you won’t be tempted to pick it up and make sure you always use an approved hands-free kit. If you must take or make a call, keep it as short as possible. Never text while driving.
- If you have passengers, and they are taking your mind off the road, don’t be afraid to ask them to keep the noise down or let them know in advance you may not chat much when driving. They’ll appreciate the reminder that you’re taking responsibility for their safety.
- If you’re on a longer drive, take extra time to plan your journey in advance and have what you need to hand in the car so that you can stop safely and enjoy a comfort break rather than potentially breaking laws e.g. eating or drinking at the wheel.
- Focus on driving safely yourself, but always be aware of other road users, anticipate rather than react last minute, and above all remain calm if another driver’s actions are reckless.
For more details on the survey, see please visit Brake's website.