Top distractions to avoid when driving

When driving it’s important that you give all your attention to the road, as being distracted is not only dangerous for you and your passengers but other drivers too, potentially leading to road accidents. Even being distracted for a few split seconds can have catastrophic consequences because your reaction time isn’t as quick as it would be if you were paying full attention. Kwik Fit has created a #DrivenToDistraction game where you can test your driving knowledge against your reaction time. Here are some of the top distractions you should try to avoid when driving.

Mobile phone

In the UK it’s illegal to hold a mobile phone when driving and being caught behind the wheel doing so can land you with a £200 fine and 6 points on your license. If you need to use your phone when driving you must have hands-free access such as a Bluetooth headset, voice command or a dashboard holder. The only time you can use a hand-held phone is when you are parked safely or if it’s an emergency and you need to call 999. While you may think that glancing at your phone quickly while you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic won’t do much harm, it can affect your concentration levels and you need to be paying full attention at all times.

Being sleep deprived

One fifth of road accidents are caused by tiredness and drivers falling asleep at the wheel. If you find yourself getting tired whilst driving, you should stop in a safe place and take a break. It’s recommended to take a 15-20 minute nap and to drink two cups of coffee or a caffeinated drink. Avoid having a heavy meal or exercising before driving as these can have an added affect and if you are prescribed medication, check for any side effects that may cause drowsiness. Although it’s not against the law to drive when you’re tired, you are putting yourself and others at risk and increasing the chances of a road collision.

Loud music

Driving while playing your music loudly can result in you receiving a fine or penalty points as it’s classed as driving without due care and attention. Playing your music at a high volume could stop you from hearing the sirens of emergency vehicles that may be approaching, as well as other users on the road and pedestrians. Loud music can reduce the driver’s attention, with evidence suggesting that the louder and more upbeat it is, the more it increases driver error and aggressive driving. Try to keep the volume of your music to a standard.

Disruptive passengers

Passengers can be a major distraction for drivers, especially children. If a child is upset and crying in the back of the car this can be very distracting for parents, possibly causing them to turn around and take their eyes off the road. Even having a conversation with a passenger can cause a driver to avert their attention and studies have shown that male drivers in the presence of peers are likely to be more distracted.

Many drivers experience these distractions at some point, which is why it’s vital that you should be fully alert and paying full attention to the road ahead and your surroundings all the time.