Don’t Be Driven to Distraction
75% of all collisions occur at speeds of less than 20 miles per hour, in city traffic, with
many being associated with rear-end collisions.* A common cause of these crashes is driver
distraction, which, in the age of mobile technology, is only getting more prevalent.
A lot of these low-speed collisions are also associated with the problem of whiplash
culture that is frustrating many drivers up and down the country and which contributes to increased premiums for us all.
It is illegal to hold a phone or sat-nav while driving. To use your phone, you must have hands free access and it is also highly advisable to limit calls and to consider pulling over before taking calls or ringing the person back when you are stationery.
You must stay in full control of your vehicle at all times. The police can stop you if they think you’re not in control because you’re distracted and you can be prosecuted. Technology cases many of the distractions but can also be used to your advantage, some cars now include the facility for reading text messages and many smart phones no include the facility to lock down when in a moving car. That said, one of the easiest methods is to put the phone on the back seat out of reach to remove temptation.
The law still applies to the use of phones whether you are stopped at traffic lights, queueing in traffic or supervising a learner and can lead to 6 penalty points and a £200 fin, potentially the loss of your licence.
Steps you can take to drive with focus:
• Recognise what makes you distracted – for example eating or changing music
• Concentrate on your driving – distractions are inevitable. The trick is to refocus as soon as possible
• Use technology sensibly – do anything you can to change the settings on your mobile communications, entertainment system or navigation to reduce the level of distraction it causes.
Businesses have a duty of care to provide policies and training in the safe use of any in-vehicle technology that may cause a distraction
• Plan your route – planning your route in advance and having a good idea of directions gives
you a better chance of staying focused on the road rather than your navigational device.
* Thatcham Research ‘Stop the crash’ report