Driven to Distraction


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By Grace Hickman

on Thursday 5 April 2018


Driver using mobile phone while driving

Many of us are guilty of getting a little side-tracked when out and about on the roads, whether that’s because we’re busy cracking on with our daily routine, meeting a friend or getting out of the house for a scenic gallivant.

We might feel, like I do, that we’re more than capable of multitasking – but The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) state that this can’t always be done safely while driving, especially if the second activity is time-consuming or complex.

Nearly three-quarters of UK drivers have admitted to multi-tasking while driving, which means, there’s a significantly high risk of road traffic accidents occurring.

An array of distractions exists to test our level of concentration, but one of the top causes of road traffic accidents involves drink and drugs.

Under the Influence

Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs has often been a topical subject - TV presenter Ant McPartlin could face around 6 months in prison alongside a substantial fine if found guilty for his recent three-car collision drink-driving incident.

Also, Poppy Paul from Suffolk was sentenced this week for driving under the influence of drugs with a child in the car. The outcome was a two-year driving ban, an order for 100 hours unpaid community service and £170 in fines.

While there are serious consequences for those who commit the offence, they’re not the only ones who suffer. Such accidents can have severe, even fatal, impacts on pedestrians, motorcyclists, cyclists and those in other vehicles – as in the case of drink-driver from London who killed three innocent teenagers in January.

Passengers in at-fault drivers’ cars or other victims of non fault accidents that are caused by mistakes such as these may want to claim compensation for an injury, other damages or losses. At Non Fault Claims, we’re here to help.

 

7 Common Driving Distractions

It’s not only alcohol and drugs that have serious implications on your driving concentration. Many other factors contribute towards distracted driving and road traffic accidents.

Most of us are aware of the risks, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the serious danger behind everyday tasks we carry out. Some of the worst things you can do when driving are:

1. Talking too much – whether that’s hands-free on your phone or with your mum in the passenger seat – you could be having a general chit chat, arguing or talking about the weather – it could be a distraction.

According to the RAC, using hands-free is acceptable, but it should be fully set up before you drive, so you don’t need to handle the device at all when driving. More information regarding the law and using phones while driving can be found here.

The police still have the authority to pull you over, should they think you’ve been distracted by your mobile. This isn’t to say you should give your passenger the silent treatment, but just refrain from getting into any debates or heated discussions that could raise stress levels.

2. Getting mentally side-tracked – in a poll of 27,662 drivers, the AA found that around 15% of those often forget parts of their journey. Perhaps when driving before, you’ve suddenly thought – how did I get here?! Maybe because the route you’re taking is so familiar that you don’t really think about what you’re doing or because your mind has wandered off to daydreaming about what’s on the cards for dinner. You must always remain focused before driving off – try to gather your thoughts and save the over-thinking for when you’re parked.

3. Losing focus to outside distractions – as well as the mind being distracted, we’re so busy trying to pay attention to what’s going on around us. It’s crucial to keep an eye on other drivers, speed limits and any hazards like potholes or sheep that nonchalantly come to a standstill in the middle of many country roads. Whether distractions are dangerous or amusing, like Didcot’s road signs, try to maintain focus on the important things out on the road.

Rubbernecking is also a distraction – where a road traffic accident or another scenario may make you want to slow down and take a look. Don’t be nosy!

4. Letting music lead you astray – you cannot touch your smartphone while driving. Fiddling with the radio or using headphones will also distract you and increase reaction times. Have a ready-made playlist so you don’t need to fuss or you can ask Siri on your smartphone to “play this”, “play that”, and “shuffle the music”. Finally, avoid pulling shapes in the car – we’ve all been tempted!

5. Eating and drinking – regardless of how you try to get away with it, these actions require you to drive with only one hand on the wheel. A recent survey shows that doing this while driving increases your reaction time by 44% - that’s a significant delay. So whether you’re parched or peckish, park up somewhere for those refreshments causing an accident because your tummy was grumbling just isn’t worth it.

6. Failing to plan your route – always plan ahead before you set off. Messing about with your Sat Nav device or the maps app on your smartphone is illegal! Make sure it’s going to take you to the right destination before you venture out, otherwise you could be in deep trouble, and be sure to listen to instructions – don’t take your eyes off the road.

7. Allowing pets to roam free inside – not only could failing to secure your pet securely lead to a £2,500 fine, it could cause serious distraction for you and even other drivers. While it’s funny to see them sticking their heads out the window, tongue a-flapping - it’s not smart.

With a few hundred dying and thousands getting injured every year due to distracted driving, these tips should make you think twice about driving under the influence or faffing around in the car without full concentration on the roads. Nobody wants to be at-fault for a road traffic accident, so don’t do it.

Non Fault Claims

If you’ve had a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault and you’d like advice or information on making a non fault claim, help with determining who is at fault in a car accident, getting a replacement car or recovering your uninsured losses, we at Non Fault Claims can help you.

Sometimes getting straightforward help from your own insurer can be difficult, but we aim to help you every step of the way and help get you back on track. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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