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Millions of drivers admit to being dangerously distracted behind the wheel on British roads

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More than 10 million UK drivers in areas such as Manchester, Skegness, Boston, Grimsby, Liverpool, Lincoln, Southampton, and London, could be driving erratically on British roads due to common distractions that are still technically legal in vehicles.

This is according to new research that has been released by used car buying service ChooseMyCar.com. The data looked at behavioural habits of Brit drivers, with concerning results.

More than a quarter (27 percent) of drivers admitted to becoming distracted by in-vehicle tablets – a common feature in modern cars. Whether it be used as a sat nav, to control the radio, connected to mobile phones, or as a console to control in-car functions, the tablet is a focus for many distractions. While it is not yet illegal to use an in-vehicle tablet, it obviously takes a driver’s eyes off the road and can lead to huge lapses in concentration.

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And it wasn’t just the in-car tablet that was causing this issue. Sat nav systems, smart watches, food and drink, and other passengers, were all distracting to the drivers questioned.

More than 15 percent (which equates to over six million people) admitted to fiddling with their sat nav systems while driving vehicles, while more than 10 percent (over four millions drivers) admitted to checking or replying to their messages on smartwatches. The use of smartwatches in a car is still not illegal, despite calls on the Government to take action.

Other dangerous distractions included:

  • A huge 35 percent admitted to eating and drinking while driving (More than 15 million drivers)
  • More than 10 percent admitted to using their phones while driving (More than four million drivers)
  • Seven percent admitted to turning their heads to attend to children in the back seats while driving (more than three million drivers)

The most distracted age group tended to be those aged 18-34 years of age, although the 35-54 year group was close behind. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the over 55s age group were the least likely to allow themselves to get distracted.

There were also variations across geographical areas – with Glasgow and Brighton having the highest percentage of drivers who admitted to using in-car tablets (36 percent), and Belfast having the highest number of drivers who used their smartwatches behind the wheel.

Founder of ChooseMyCar.com, Nick Zapolski, said that drivers must pay more attention whilst on the roads or risk facing accidents.

“We’re all human, and I suspect very few of us would be able to say that they hadn’t fallen foul of some of these distractions. It’s very easy to lose focus, especially on long drives, or resist eating or having a quick sip of water.

“But the fact remains that all of these habits do increase the chances of accidents happening. Where possible, take steps to avoid needing to take your eyes off the road. Set up your climate control and sat nav before setting off, make sure you’ve had a snack, and set up the kids with their tablets and refreshments if you can. If distractions do arise on your trip, try and pull over to deal with them.”

 

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