Five lesser-known distractions motorists face

Friday, June 10, 2016


Mobile phones are an ongoing issue when dealing with distractions while behind the wheel. Even with hands-free kits drivers can be just as distracted by other things in their surroundings whilst in the car.


The BBC mentions five lesser-known driving distractions we motorists face.


One of the main distractions noted were spiders.


Yes those eight legged, creepy crawlies that make even the manliest of men shriek in terror when noticing one weaving its web within our facility.


Olivia Baldock-Ward, Training Manager at the DIA, said: "Many drivers can probably relate to an uninvited passenger in the form of a spider in their car. When it comes to spiders, if I were to put this on a 1-10 scale (where 10 is the worst) I fluctuate between a 7 and a 10, depending on the size and location of the 8-legged monster."


Spiders have lead to a few road accidents, for instance in 2010 a motorist in Devon who threw a spider out of her car window crashed into a man on a charity bike. Later followed another incident where a driver crashed into a lamppost in Poole, due to being distracted by a spider.


When addressing her own experiences, Baldock-Ward states: "The last time was more recent where a spider ran across the dashboard as I was driving along a fair moving road. I pulled over as soon as I could and dealt with it. The spider disappeared behind the dashboard somewhere never to be seen again."


The second lesser-known distraction mentioned by the BBC is due to emotional turmoil.


According to researchers at Virginia Tech drivers increase the risk of a crash by great amounts should they get behind the wheel "while observably angry, sad, crying, or emotionally agitated".


We often face "Tiredness kills" signs as we head down motorways, and it is argued that these different emotions can be just as distractive. 


Saudi Mann, author of The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom is Good, suggests that playing particular music can work well when uplifting moods. However, she suggests avoiding songs with too much personal emotional music and that "you need some upbeat music, just enough to help you concentrate."


Eye candy can also be distracting for drivers.


A survey in Australia revealed that 59.2% of male drivers had been distracted by "good-looking women". Whereas vice verse the figure was considerably low, as only 15.2% of women admitted that they are distracted by a handsome man walking the pavement.


This shows that driver distractions are not limited to aspects inside the vehicle. The Department for Transports states that in 2014 police reported 19 deaths and 206 serious accidents caused by a distraction outside the vehicle.


Adults are another distraction according to the BBC, as a study revealed that 22.9% of drivers listed over-18s as a distraction. Interestingly only 12.9% said the same of children.


Conversations between adults in the car could help prevent the driver from feeling tired or facing a different emotion, however overdoing it could then lead to the driver concentrating more on the conversation than what the road ahead has in store.


Thanks to the rise of the 'selfie' era and the pressures that come along with self-image, self-grooming has become a popular activity while in the car.


Motorists have been seen to apply make-up or adjust their hair while stuck in traffic, but to do this whilst on the move could cause serious accidents. In the US, road safety group Decide to Drive issue advice on how to avoid such activity behind the wheel.


While the obvious getting ready before leaving the house is suggested, it is advised that items like tweezers, lipstick and brushes are kept of the passenger seat to avoid temptations.


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