DEREK EASTWOOD (Business Development Manager , Hussey Fraser Solicitors, Dublin)
[dropcap]D[/dropcap]istracted driving puts your life at risk, other drivers at work, and pedestrians at risk. Learn about what distracts you on the road and make changes to how you drive – It could save lives.
Driving distraction can be visual, manual or cognitive, as explained in the table below:
|Taking your eyes off the road||Taking your hands off the wheel.||Taking your mind off driving|
- Motorists are 23 times more likely to crash if texting.
- Drivers are 4 times more likely to crash while on the phone.
- Distracted driving could be a factor in as many as 20%-30% of all collisions.
- 30% of drivers admit to reading a text or email while driving.
- 33%say they typed a message while driving.
- 75% of people say they’ve seen others using their phone while passing them.
- 80.6% of drivers say driving distractions are completely unacceptable behaviour yet it continues to be serious issue.
What Distracts Us?
Aside using cell phone while driving, other factors capable of distracting a motorist on wheel include:
- Adjusting the radio
- Looking at & adjusting GPS navigation systems
- Dealing with kids or pets in the back seat
- Eating/snacking when driving
How to Avoid Distracted Driving
Use your cell phone for emergency situations only: Even then, you should try to pull over to the hard shoulder before making the call.
Organise your stuff & avoid multitasking: People often try to catch up on tasks when they’re driving. Don’t do it. You need to focus on the road and what’s going on around you.
Use voice commands & Bluetooth sparingly: These are great pieces of technology, but you must remember that things like hands-free talking can still distract you. Your hands might be on the wheel, but your mind won’t be on the road. Use these items only when necessary.
Let your passengers do some of the work: Your job is to drive but if you have passengers in your car they can help you. They can change the radio station, set up your GPS, or send a text for you safely.
Make your drive time, quiet time: We all need our quiet moments during the day. Why not use driving as a chance to relax and focus on the task in hand?
Impact of Emotion on Driving
You’re 10 times more likely to be in an accident, when you’re feeling sad, angry or agitated behind the wheel.
A survey by Aviva revealed that only 7% of drivers believe their emotional state has the biggest negative effect on their driving.
Perceived Influence: Two third of drivers believe anger has the worst influence on driving safety.
Prevalence: Despite this, there are still 92% of people who admit to feeling angry with other drivers when driving.
Insight: “Being hyper armoured or adrenalized does not actually allow you to remain focused and present. It increases your irritability and recedes concentration regarding the task at hand – which is to keep yourself and others safe at all times.” -Mike Fisher -Author & Founder of The British Association of Anger Management
Keeping anger at bay: Tips for drivers
Consider any eventuality: Driving can be unpredictable. Be ready for unexpected things like heavy traffic.
Don’t take it personally: We all make mistakes but it just happens to be way more dangerous to make them the road. Try to accept that other people make mistakes.
Remember you’re not perfect either: Stop thinking you are a wonderful driver and everyone else is terrible – you are also prone to making a mistake.
Perceived influence: 19% believe that stress has the worst influence on driving safety.
Prevalence: Over a ¼ of people get stressed when driving.
Insight: “(Stress)can cause our driving to become more aggressive and reactive, which means we’re more likely to drive faster, make mistakes and therefore cause accidents”.– Neil Shah -Author &Director of The Stress Management Society
De-stressing on the road: Tips for drivers
- Leave with plenty of time to spare: Try to make sure you’re not rushing to arrive at your destination.
- Plan your route: Before you set off, know exactly which route you are going to take to avoid any confusion.
- Avoid peak times: Try to avoid busy periods if you’re susceptible to getting stressed on the road.
Perceived influence: 4% believe it has the worst influence on driving safety.
Prevalence: Nearly 1 in 10 admit they get nervous or fearful whilst driving.
Insight: “(Anxiety results in) rapid heartbeat, palpitations, excess sweating, shaking, ‘jelly legs’, headaches, butterflies in your stomach and many other physical symptoms.” – Laura Whitehurst – Partnerships Manager at Anxiety UK
Calming your nerves: Tips for drivers
- Breathing exercises: Try to calm yourself with a few deep breaths or try meditation on a regular basis.
- Get some exercise: A little bit of exercise before hitting the road will help to keep you calm.
- Find out what causes your anxiety: Try things that will help you control the anxiety. If you learn about why you get anxious, it will help you to control it on a day to day basis.
* survey of 1,094 British drivers conducted online
Contributed by: Derek Eastwood, Business Development Manager , Hussey Fraser Solicitors, Dublin. For more information, please visit: http://injury-solicitors.ie/injury-solicitors-claims/accidents-at-work/
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