RAC Cars News


Distracted drivers cause one in ten accidents

By raccars Published

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The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), has reported that 9% of accidents are caused by distracted driving. The IAM surveyed around 1,500 drivers and found that almost one in ten admitted having an accident while being distracted in the car. Because the survey concerned drivers admitting to their faults, the true figure is likely to be much higher. The survey also asked drivers to describe the type of distraction being experienced and this produced the following top five causes of distraction behind the wheel.

1) Children in the vehicle (29%)

Almost a third of respondents admitted that kids in the car are a distraction. Many parents will not be surprised. Trying to maintain control of bored kids in the back has long been a familiar distraction for mum and dad. These constant looks in the mirror and over the shoulder take the driver’s attention away from the road and are a serious safety issue.

2) Changing channel on the radio (27%)

Almost every car has a radio and fiddling to try to find our favourite station is a real distraction. Steering wheel controls may reduce the issue on some models, but with infotainment systems becoming more complex, the problem could be set to get worse.

3) Back seat drivers (26%)

Many drivers have experienced the annoyance of unwanted advice from the back seat. Whether it is commenting on your driving skills or suggesting shortcuts, such interjections can be distracting and lead to frustration and bad driving. It can also lead to arguments, which again result in less attention on the road and poor, often aggressive, decision making.

4) Using mobile phones (24%)

Many people might expect mobile phone use to be nearer the top of the list but perhaps the law banning their use is having some effect. Nevertheless, it is shocking that so many people admit to using their phone while driving. Hands-free kits are widely available and do offer a partial solution but any call can be distracting. Many companies are implementing guidelines where it is not permissible to call driving colleagues, even where hands-free sets are in place, because discussing work issues at the wheel can be stressful and distracting. Some drivers even admit to texting while driving.

5) Using the sat nav (15%)

Satellite navigation is intended to be a driver aid but it can also be a distraction. Constantly fiddling with the route or staring at the screen instead of the road ahead can be really dangerous. Drivers should always set the route before beginning their journey and stop when it needs adjusting.

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