Kids, sexy pedestrians sidetrack drivers: study

In a UK survey 9 per cent of drivers admitted they had crashed because they were distracted.
In a UK survey 9 per cent of drivers admitted they had crashed because they were distracted.

Are sexy pedestrians just too distracting? Or are your kids driving you mad at the wheel?

You're not alone. They are among the top distractions found in a UK survey of 1500 drivers by IAM and Vision Critical.

Children (29 per cent), changing the stereo (27 per cent), back-seat drivers (26 per cent), the satnav (15 per cent) and attractive pedestrians, drivers or passengers (14 per cent) were rated the things which most took attention away from the road.

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.

Distractions are a major cause of crashes. In the same survey, 9 per cent of drivers admit they have crashed because they were distracted.

"People who think they can multitask while driving are kidding themselves. If you take your eyes of the road for just two seconds at 30 miles per hour [48km/h], you'll travel close to 90 feet [27m], effectively blind," IAM chief executive Simon Best said.

"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."

IAM's top tips for distracting kids:

• Keep them occupied with 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, be 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. Save yourself the panic and research some local parks and playgrounds where you plan to stop off.

• Have a plastic bag with you in case of travel sickness.

• A second adult in the car to look after the children leaves 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.

- NZ Herald

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