Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What risky behaviours do you engage in while you’re driving? New research has revealed what drivers’ worst vices are at about 100kms on the UK’s busiest roads.

The survey found that 57% of drivers admitted to opening a bottle and having a drink while driving, 48% change CDs, 35% have eaten a sandwich and 29% are distracted by adjusting their sat-nav system.

In South Africa, according to Arrive Alive, distracted driving is described as “an epidemic sweeping our roads.” The National Highway Traffic Administration puts cellphone use at the top of the list of our driver distractions.

Many South African respondents in an informal survey admitted to the following behaviours whilst driving at about 100kms: putting on lipstick; brushing their teeth and doing their hair, checking themselves out in the mirror; turning around to check on their children and even shaving!

According to John October, spokesman for Dial Direct: “Research showed that 15% of people surveyed reached for items in the glove compartment at the same time as driving at about 100kms. While this activity might seem innocent and actually has become commonplace, it could be deadly, as could all these other driving habits.”

Local drivers claimed that because of rushing to get to work, they often finished getting ready in the car. The informal survey also revealed that eating and drinking was commonplace with many South Africans sipping their hot morning coffee (an accident waiting to happen!) in the car or eating breakfast or lunch while on the road. Tuning the radio or inserting a CD was another major vice for South Africans.

“It’s very important to concentrate at all times while driving by making sure that your focus is always on the road ahead.  Even taking your eyes off the road for just a second can cause you to have an accident,” says October.

Take control of bad driving habits by following these tips:

  • If you use a GPS, then follow voice-activated directions.
  • Tune your radio, or plug in your iPod before you get into the car and insert any music you want to listen to before leaving home.
  • Keep arguments and intense chatting for when you’re not driving. Avoid this kind of interaction until you reach your destination.
  • Keep your kids occupied with electronic devices or sing-a-long CDs of their favourite music and snacks so that they don’t distract you while on the road.
  • If something falls into the foothold while you are driving then leave it there until you reach your destination. If you must retrieve it, pull over.
  • Never SMS, Google, Facebook or Tweet while driving. Your phone is a massive distraction so turn off the Internet access on your phone while you drive.
  • Use a hands free device if you can’t bear to be separated from your cellphone.
  • Keep your eyes on the road at all times. If there is something that simply cannot wait, then pull over safely onto the side of the road.

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