As Britons spend an increasing amount of time in their cars every day, are we using this time to catch up on other things?
From grabbing lunch to returning that text, people are increasingly – and likely subconsciously – using their travel time to manage everyday activities. With today’s mobile phone compulsion combined with improved in-car technology, the temptation to give in to daily distractions is ever growing.
Driving a car safely requires care and a lot of concentration. In a reality you are operating a piece of heavy machinery at high speed, calculating speeds and distances, having to response to all other drivers and any dangers that you may come across. So add one more distraction into the mix can be enough to make you lose control.
Be road safe
Before you set off make sure your car is ready to drive. The suitability of our car is often something we overlook and only consider when our MOT is due again, but maintaining your car throughout the year could save your life, and the lives of others. Problems often easily overlooked, include wrong tyre pressures and tread depth, loose wheels, worn brakes and indicators and lights not working.
No matter how long your journey, it’s important that your driving environment is optimal from the moment you set off. Check your seating position, set your air-conditioning, and have the radio on at a sensible volume to limit possible distractions. Importantly, know all of your controls so that if you do need to adjust things on the move it’s with minimal impact to your driving!
Give yourself the best chance of getting to where you’re going safely by planning your journey. Know where you’re going, check the directions and if you do have a sat-nav input your destination details before you set-off. If you have a passenger, use them to assist and if not – pull over to review maps or directions that you’re unsure of.
Stop to eat
One of the most admitted habits that people are guilty of when behind the wheel is having a meal. With improved access to food and drink, more recently from the infamous drive-thru, why wouldn’t you grab something on the go? The facts are that stopping to eat is far safer than trying to tackle a food wrapper whilst trying to concentrate on the task in hand – driving.
Ban talk time
Even with hands-free devices, your mobile phone is often the most dangerous and yet common distraction when driving your car. Talking whilst driving causes you to take your attention and sometimes your eyes off the road increasing the likelihood of causing being in an accident. If you receive a text, can it wait? Put your phone out of reach or better still, remove the temptation and turn it off.
Your car is for driving, when in motion its mirrors are there to aid that activity and not facilitate daily grooming rituals. If you have a pet travelling with you, strap them in and secure items that may move around whilst on the move. Outside distractions are unavoidable so react to them calmly and pull over safely where needed.