Driving distractions can cause drivers to not drive safely as it takes their focus from the road ahead.  Safe driving is paramount however, taking your eyes off the road for 2 seconds may not seem like much, but the distance you are travelling while being distracted increases proportionally to your speed.  And the more you travel without paying attention, the more unexpected things can happen along the way. It doesn’t matter if you are just learning to drive, or if you are an experienced driver – consequences are the same.

Here are some facts to think about the next time you are behind the wheel:

Driving Distraction types

  • The most common driver distractions nowadays is texting while driving (mobile phones, vehicle controls, passengers, pets, kids, things happening outside the car, applying makeup, food and drinks (especially coffee), surprises (a spider, a passenger sneezing, etc.), and your own thoughts.

    Worse than drink driving

  • Distracted driving is causing many deaths in younger generations of drivers. Crashes caused by drink driving have decreased, but the same number of young people die on the road because of the increasing number of distracted drivers.
  • Drivers using mobile phones are more impaired than drivers at .08 BAC.
  • What happens inside your brain

    • There are 3 types of distraction: visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your eyes off the wheel) and cognitive (taking your mind off of driving).
    • Brain power used while driving decreases by 40% when a driver listens to conversation or to music.
    • Texting causes you to take your eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds. If you are travelling at 90 km/h, you will be covering the length of a football field without looking at the road. What’s worse, even if you’ve stopped checking your phone or your navman, you will still not be fully engaged with the driving task for approximately 27 seconds.
    • Distraction contributes to around 15% of fatal crashes. Try taking a hazard perception test while texting and see what happens.
    • There is no difference in the cognitive distraction between hand-held and hands-free devices.

    Mobile phones and other devices

    • Learner and P1 drivers are not allowed to use ANY function of a phone (including hands-free) while driving.
    • Around 1 million people chat on their mobile or text while driving.
    • Texting increases you odds of being involved in a crash by 23 times. Driving and texting is so frequent and has consequences so severe that is considered an epidemic.
    • 80% of teenage girls and 58% of teenage boys admitted to texting and driving.
    • People who text while driving spend 10% of the time outside their lane.

    It’s better to travel alone

    • Young drivers have a greater risk of becoming involved in a crash when they have friends in the car. There’s more chance of causing a fatal crash when you have two or more friends in the car, especially male passengers.

    Hungry?

    • An American study has found that eating can be more distracting than talking on a mobile phone.

    Today’s fast-paced lifestyle forces many of us to handle our lives out of our cars, but talking on the phone or eating while you commute is not an effective way of saving time.  Attempting to multitask is risky for your passengers’ and your own safety, and you will not be completing any of the tasks efficiently.