Most drivers believe they are sufficiently aware of the risks posed by alcohol, drugs, speeding and not using protection systems when driving, but they are not so aware of dangerous situations arising from distractions when at the wheel.
Distractions cause over 30 percent of traffic accidents and therefore when you're at the wheel it is vital to keep 100 percent focused on the road.
Driving demands complete concentration on three different levels:
- visual: the view of the road,
- manual: hands on the wheel and
- cognitive: the mind focused on driving.
The most common distractions are caused by:
- Passengers in the vehicle. Often, without wishing to, passengers distract drivers. If the passengers are children, distractions are much more common; three out of every four drivers traveling with children check what is happening on the back seat by turning round or looking in the rear view mirror.
- Adjusting the vehicle's devices. It is important to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. The devices that cause most distractions are the GPS route finder, the iPod and the radio, although you should also remember that smoking or looking for something in the glove compartment can also cause distraction.
- Speaking or sending text messages using a cell phone. The cell phone is another technological device whose use while driving considerably increases the risk of having an accident. It is compulsory to use a hands-free system to make telephone calls, but even so it greatly reduces the ability to concentrate. Sending text messages makes you 23 times more likely to have an accident, in that it represents three kinds of distraction: visual (while reading the screen); cognitive (while engaged in thinking up the message) and manual (fingers keying in letters or pressing buttons). Forget about cell phones when driving.
- Personal thoughts and concerns are a frequent source of distraction. When driving you need to set aside haste, stress and personal worries.
- Taking your eyes off the road. Most drivers know how easy it is to get distracted and take your eyes off the road. It is not uncommon to pass an accident, stop paying attention to the traffic and thus cause another accident. You should never take your eyes off the traffic and the road.
- Eating or drinking. We have already pointed out the importance of keeping both hands on the wheel and eating or drinking means that one hand is occupied, thereby increasing the risk of an accident.
Avoid distractions and concentrate on driving. We want you to get home safe and sound. Join GOAL ZERO.