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When driving becomes a distraction

A POLL by the UK’s biggest road safety charity IAM RoadSmart of more than 2,300 drivers has lifted the lid on some of the worst motoring distractions people have spotted on the road.

The poll reveals that UK drivers appear to treat the driving seat as an extension of the bathroom mirror with a wide range of personal grooming activities going on behind the wheel.

The three most frequently observed activities are smoking, eating and drinking - all of which have been observed by more than 95 per cent of those surveyed.

But, more surprisingly ‘telling off children’ and ‘styling hair’ were also high in the charts, with this being witnessed by 82 per cent and 55 per cent of responders respectively.

Some 63 per cent of those surveyed had seen a driver look at a laptop or tablet screen.

Further down the chart, but no less worrying; were those trying to control a pet (seen by 46 per cent) reading a book at the wheel (seen by 3 per cent) and shaving (seen by 24 per cent).

Most worryingly many of these distracting behaviours are being witnessed time and time again on nearly every journey.

Of those surveyed a quarter saw someone drinking at the wheel every day and a fifth saw someone eating.

And, more than half (57 per cent) said they had been affected by drivers who had been distracted for any of the reasons seen in the survey.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We understand that the pressures of modern life mean we cannot always keep our cool, especially when children and pets often don’t understand the concept of ‘concentration.’ But it is exactly in these situations that a tragedy can occur. Talking to any passengers can wait until there are no other potential problems around. Pets should always be securely transported in their carriers.

“We need to persuade drivers there is no such thing as ‘multitasking’ when it comes to motoring. Driving needs to be the sole activity going on whilst at the wheel. Everything else can wait.”

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