Living in the smartphone age has brought more attention to driver distraction. Phones are one of the most common distractions behind the wheel but it has also revealed the dangers of multi-tasking when driving overall.
Multi-tasking isn’t actually that cool!
Don’t want to miss the gossip on Whatsapp?
Drivers who use mobile phones when driving are four times more likely to crash. It might seem like glancing over a text quickly isn’t that bad, but taking your eyes off the road even for a second can make you miss a hazard.
According to Brake, in 2016, 397 incidents were recorded by the police with the contributory factor of “failure to look”, and further 140 incidents factored driver distractions like phone use.
The risk applies to all phone use – you shouldn’t be taking or making any calls, texting or updating social media. Imagine how it looks, if you have an accident and just 5 minutes before you tweeted about how slow the driver in front of you was driving. Not a great look in court.
Ladies, you’re more guilty of this! According to Insurance Journal females are more likely to engage in mobile use when driving than males. Though, lads, it seems your eyes wonder off for other reasons – a survey by The Car People revealed that one in five millenial men get distracted at the wheel by attractive pedestrians.
Love a good beat?
Auditory distractions can be just as bad. Studies show that upbeat music increases driver error. Some research shows that hip hop, for example, leads to more aggressive driving than classical music, though genre is more often personal.
Tempo and volume, on the other hand, have a bigger effect on driving. A faster beat could cause you to subconsciously speed up. Changing songs on your phone or radio station on the car stereo is a dangerous manual distraction as well.
Create a driving playlist – nothing complex, keep it calm – and set it up before you take off. If you love everything coming out the speakers, you won’t need to change songs – but, really, don’t go for psychedelic techno or loud heavy metal.
We created a playlist with fun but safe driving songs – around 60 to 80 beats per minute to mimic the human heartbeat. Check the drive like a girl Safe Driving Playlist here.
Missed a meal?
We all like to schedule a quick bite for the journey when in a hurry – all those drive-throughs! But as much as we think we have the skills to multi-task behind the wheel, none of us really do.
It’s not illegal to eat while you drive, but imagine this chain of events: you’re holding on to a burger when a pedestrian is suddenly crossing the road. You try to steer away smoothly but you only have one hand on the wheel.
Let’s say you just avoid hitting anyone or anything – still, your clothes are covered in mayo and the police could prosecute you for careless driving (with an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points…).
Most cars have cup holders, which probably doesn’t give the right sign – but, dehydration can cause loss of focus so it’s important you have water with you, especially if it’s a long journey. That being said, that burger might as well be a can of coke so make sure you only sip when your car is stationary.
Dreaming of your new crush?
It’s happened to all of us – driving home from work or school, reaching the front of your house and suddenly realising you remember nothing of the journey you’ve just made. It’s hard to pay attention to this when it’s already happening, duh, so it’s all in the preparation.
Never drive if you’re tired and have doubts about your concentration levels. Dozing off when behind the wheel isn’t an uncommon cause of accidents, which is why it’s advised to take breaks on long journeys and make sure you’re hydrated and awake.
If you just can’t stop thinking about him or her, ask someone else to give you a lift!
Getting ready for your new crush?
Just like texting, or having a meal, applying make-up or grooming up is not an activity for the road. We get it, we’re all too busy and desperate to multi-task whatever chance we get. But putting on that lipstick or adding gel to your hair will keep your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road.
Get ready just that 15 minutes earlier or wait until you get to your destination, park safely and then worry about how you look.