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What takes our eyes off the road?

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Children in the car are the number one distraction for drivers, according to the latest survey of 1500 drivers by IAM and Vision Critical. Twenty-nine per cent of drivers admit that their children are their biggest distraction while driving.

Busy lifestyles and a constant need to multitask also feature heavily with mobile phone use (24 per cent). and texting and social media updates (10 per cent) also featuring. Twenty-three per cent of young drivers (aged 18-24) find this a distraction.

Other top distractions include:
•Changing the radio channel (27%)
•Back seat drivers (26%)
•Sat nav (15%)
•Attractive pedestrians, drivers or passengers (14%)

Nearly a quarter of men (23 per cent) admit to being distracted by attractive people compared to three per cent of women,

Distractions are a major cause of crashes. In the same survey, nine per cent of drivers admit that they have crashed because they were distracted. According to police statistics, mobile phone use and other distractions were a factor in up to one hundred and five deaths on our roads last year.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “People who think they can multi-task while driving are kidding themselves. If you take your eyes of the road for just two seconds at 30 miles per hour, you’ll travel close to 90 feet, effectively blind.

All drivers develop bad habits over time. The key to reducing distractions and their impact is to learn to look upon your driving as a skill that needs continuous evaluation and improvement.”

Children top the list of distractions. Follow this advice to keep them occupied:

IAM’s top tips for distracting kids:

•Keep them occupied by introducing games that promote and reward quiet behaviour without needing the driver’s direct involvement.
•Portable games consoles or in-car DVD players will keep kids occupied for hours. But don’t forget the headphones – the soundtracks can be just as distracting as the children.
•If you are planning a long journey, make sure you’re organised – take plenty of food and drink to avoid constant demands from the back seats.
•Allow extra stops. Find somewhere for them to stretch their legs and let off steam, such as a playground or a park. Save yourself the panic and research some local parks and playgrounds where you plan to stop off.
•Have a plastic bag (without any holes!) with you in case of travel sickness.
•A second adult in the car to look after the children makes a massive difference, leaving the driver to concentrate on driving.
•Don’t turn round to deal with fighting kids while you’re still in motion – find somewhere safe to stop first.

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