DISTRACTED DRIVING CAN BE DISASTEROUS

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in other activities - such as SMSing, using a cellphone, eating or personal grooming - which take the driver’s attention away from the road.

Globally, it’s one of the main causes of vehicle accidents and near-accidents and a poll conducted by Dial Direct Insurance suggests that a lack of time is cause for motorists to multi-task behind the wheel.

The Dial Direct poll revealed that personal grooming, eating breakfast, catching up on phone calls, checking social media sites and listening to audio books are among just some of the activities South Africans do while driving.

“One poll participant admitted to painting her nails while stuck in traffic, which is extremely worrying” says Bradley Du Chenne, Senior Executive of Dial Direct Insurance.

A concerning amount of respondents SMS, reply to emails or check Facebook while they are driving, and some will happily make phone calls – even though it is illegal to use a cellphone while driving.

The majority say that they regularly eat while driving. “While there are no laws against eating while driving, a study conducted in the US revealed that those who eat and drive increase the odds of an accident by 80%. The survey also concluded that 65% of near miss accidents are caused by distracted drivers fussing with food and drinks. Drinking coffee while driving is apparently the most dangerous and distracting activity,” notes Du Chenne.

“If it is time pressure that is causing you to multi-task behind the wheel, leave earlier and plan your route better so that you spend less time behind the wheel. A GPS can help you shorten your trips and avoid jams. Good quality GPS devices give real-time traffic reports and advice on the best alternative route to take to avoid congestion and dangerous road conditions ahead.

“In fact, the use of satellite navigation systems has been shown by a leading GPS manufacturer to reduce the number of kilometers driven on average by 16%.

“By cutting back on your travel time, you will have more time to do your make-up before you leave, and some free time to catch up on e-mails once you arrive at your destination,” urges Du Chenne.

* Dial Direct have partnered with TomTom to offer GPS devices at a reduced rate.



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