Distractions

Distractions are a major factor when it comes to crashes, prangs and near-misses. There are so many distractions that the driver needs to manage, from a crying child, to your phone going off, to something happening on the road, to you feeling tired or unwell.
Distractions are just that. They fight for our attention whilst we are driving, which leaves us with less attention for concentrating on the road, so from 100% attention, if we have a screaming child in the car or we hear our phone go off when we are expecting an important call, a lot of attention is diverted towards this, leaving considerably less for the road.

Some common distractions are

  • Mobile phones – drivers using mobile phones were responsible for 33 deaths on Britain's roads last year. Text driving is twice as likely to to cause a crash as drink driving. Even using a phone hands free increases your reaction time to slower than that of someone at the legal alcohol limit.
  • Radio – listening to the radio is an auditory distraction, and changing the station is a physical distraction. Recent studies suggest that upbeat music increases driver error and aggressive driving.
  • Sat nav – like the radio, this can be a dangerous distraction if you are trying to enter your destination while you drive. Make sure you set it up before you start driving and familiarise yourself with the route as much as you can.
  • Something on your mind? – wandering thoughts can affect your concentration. Your mood can also impact your driving ability.
  • Other road users and pedestrians – many collisions are down to the impatience of motorists. Always keep your distance from other drivers and don't allow your annoyance with a slow driver, for example, cause you to follow too closely.
  • Animals in the car – animals must be secured in a car; it's illegal for them to be loose in a vehicle. Even if they are secured, they could be a distraction if they start barking or become distressed.
  • Children in the car – if you're a parent, you don't need us to tell you that children in the car can be a distraction. Trying to resolve issues while driving takes your attention from the road. Prepare for long journeys by making sure children have plenty to keep them occupied.
  • Running out of fuel – worries while you're in the car can impact your concentration, meaning you might be less able to spot any hazards as they arise. Make sure you have plenty of fuel before you set off so you don't need to stress.

Try to be as calm and as positive as you can when driving. Distractions will often arise when you’re behind the wheel, but knowing about them and trying to limit their effects can help you to become a more competent driver.

This is just some of the advice Get Into Driving has to offer

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