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Survey reveals motorists are driven to distraction

New research has found that four in five drivers are distracted when behind the wheel – and exposed the top distractions for both men and women.

The survey, which was carried out by used car supermarket, The Car People, revealed that nearly one in five men (19%) are distracted by attractive pedestrians when they’re behind the wheel, compared to just 5% of female drivers.

Most distracting things for male drivers behind the wheel are:

1. Mobile phones (37%)
2. Talking to passengers (27%)
3. Changing the car radio (25%)
4. Using vehicle controls, eg air con (21%)
5. Seeing an attractive pedestrian (19%)

Most distracting things for female drivers behind the wheel are:

1. Mobile phones (37%)
2. Talking to passengers (30%)
3. Children fighting (26%)
4. Watching the driver in the mirror behind you (25%)
5. Listening to directions from sat-nav (23%)

Following the research, The Car People challenged two male and female drivers aged 25-34 to test their driving in a car simulator to see just how easily distracted they are and how dangerous this can be to themselves and others on the road.

Ryan Robbins, Senior Human Factors Researcher at TRL, who conducted the driving simulation, said: “It is difficult to do two things at once well, but when one of those things is driving it is virtually impossible.

“Driving is a demanding task that can suddenly require all of a driver’s attention when a hazard arises. A driver who has been distracted will be slower to anticipate and react to hazards on the road, and that delay can prove fatal.

“Most of us drastically overestimate how well we can drive, even when we are concentrating fully, and the evidence is clear that when we are distracted our driving is considerably worse.”

Jonathan Allbones, of The Car People added: “We all know mobile phones are a massive distraction for both male and female drivers behind the wheel, however it is concerning to see how many other things distract us when we’re driving along that we can’t consciously switch off from?

“Hopefully our research will encourage people to think about their driving habits and ensure that more people are focused on what is happening on the road ahead of them, instead of factors inside the car and on pavements.”

To view the video of male and female millennials being put to the test by driving distractions, visit The Car People.


About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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