Drivers need to keep their attention focused on surrounding traffic at all times – not just for their own safety but for the sake of their passengers and other road users too.
Types of distraction
There are three basic types of distraction:
- visual – things that make drivers take their eyes off the road
- cognitive – causing drivers to think about other things
- manual – things that cause drivers take their hands off the wheel
Often, a driver is distracted by a combination of the three – a driver that has to turn round to deal with kids fighting in the back won't have their eyes on the road or their attention focussed on the traffic.
Sources of distraction
Mobile phones and satnavs are major sources of distraction. Satnavs should be placed where they are easily visible without blocking the driver’s view. Smoking, eating and operating the radio or CD player are also common distractions.
Most distractions can be avoided by good organisation. If you need to eat, smoke or make a phonecall, do it before you start to drive. If you really have to take a call or deal with the children, pull over if at all possible to reduce the risk of an accident.