Lifestyle

Driving distractions are a deadly issue

The best advice is, don’t use a mobile phone while you’re driving. In fact if your engine is on, turn your mobile off.
The best advice is, don’t use a mobile phone while you’re driving. In fact if your engine is on, turn your mobile off. Chris McCormack

HANDS up anyone who would like to have more hours in the day?

For the vast majority of people the answer would most definitely be yes.

These days we seem to be busier than ever before, which means we're constantly rushing around everywhere just to get things done. The chances are that in the future this situation is only going to get more intense.

Unfortunately, with the pressures of daily life being what they are, it seems that we're more or less expected to be able to do more than one thing at a time.

This "multi-tasking" culture also continues when we get behind the wheel and that's a big problem.

Various research studies and road crash data suggest that inattention is one of the leading factors when it comes to traffic crashes. In fact it rates second place after disobeying the road rules. Clearly it is a major problem.

A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States indicated that inattention was a contributing factor in about 25% of police reported road crashes. Even so, it's not something that most people would generally consider as a risk when they get behind the wheel.  

Like fatigue, it's harder to pin down because we are dealing with individual risk perception and human behaviour. It's also not something that you can easily enforce, so dealing with it really comes down to better education.

So what is inattention? It basically means being distracted from the task at hand. I'm sure we've all seen other drivers, and possibly even ourselves, doing things that distract us from the driving task.

Russell White.
Russell White.

Programming the satellite navigation unit, putting in a new CD, day dreaming, checking out attractive pedestrians, writing a note in the diary, yelling at the kids, looking at the street map, getting dressed, putting on makeup, eating, drinking and even reading the paper are just a few examples.

Each of these activities takes our focus off the primary task which is driving the vehicle.

But by far the worst offender of them all would have to be a driver using a mobile phone. Research has proven that using a mobile phone while you're driving is a major distraction that will significantly increase your risk of having a crash.

A mobile conversation takes your attention off driving and will reduce your ability behind the wheel significantly. You'll find it more difficult to control your speed and lane position. It will also reduce your eye movements, increase your reaction time and make you less responsive to road hazards.

This applies to any mobile conversation regardless of whether it is hands free or not.

Sending or receiving a text message is worse still. It has all the downsides we've already covered and will dramatically increase the time that the person has their eyes off the road.  

The best advice is, don't use a mobile phone while you're driving. In fact if your engine is on, turn your mobile off.

When you're behind the wheel you need to focus on just one job, driving the car.

Everything else is a distraction that could have catastrophic consequences.

As much as we'd like to, we can't split our concentration between two tasks, we're just not programmed that way.  Remember that it's not possible for us to do two things at once without compromising your focus. Doing so means that you are a crash going somewhere to happen.

Russell White's experience in the driver training industry spans more than 24 years. He is widely regarded as one of Australia's leading road safety advocates. His business offers the complete range of driver training and fleet management services, visit driversafety.com.au

Topics:  cars, cars news, motoring, russell white



Defiant Gulaptis dumped after speaking out on greyhound ban

Chris Gulaptis  Photo Contributed

Gulaptis dumped for speaking out on greyhounds

Latest deals and offers

Kanye West gets 'free reign' at VMAs

Kanye West has been let off the leash for the VMAs

Robbie Williams sings at manager's funeral

Robbie Williams and Lamar sang at the funeral of their manager

Twice as much Troy will please country music lovers

CATCH HIM WHILE YOU CAN: Singer Troy Cassar-Daley plans to take some time off to spend with family next year.

TROY Cassar-Daley is releasing a new album and book.

Courtney Stodden gets Reborn Doll

Courtney Stodden is trying to get over her recent miscarriage

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

FBI investigating Leslie Jones website hack

The FBI are investigating Leslie Jones' personal website hack

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m