Driving at any time is a risk – changing weather conditions, excess traffic, roadworks and tired drivers can all add to the risk you face every time you get out on the road. However, one of the biggest dangers we face when we drive to work or take our family on a holiday is the distracted driver.
What causes a distracted driver?
There are plenty of things that can distract us while we are in the car – the kids screaming in the back seat, your passenger talking to you, your phone ringing, looking at something on the side of the road and so on. Essentially distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes and attention away from the road. Distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of road accidents, and can increase your chance of crashing your car resulting in injury and even death.
There is a whole range of driving distractions that people face every day, however some of the biggest distractions include:
- Dialing or using a phone
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers or calming children
- Adjusting the radio or GPS.
In 2016 one of the top four causes of fatal car accidents in Australia was due to inattention or distraction while driving. Inattention and distraction has become more of an issue the more popular smartphones become, and using a mobile while driving increases the risk of crashing by four times!
In Australia most accidents are caused by human error, with nose to tail collisions the most common type of accident. Often, these accidents were results of impatience, tailgating and distracted drivers.
A research study by Monash University filmed hundreds of drivers inside their vehicles over nearly two million kilometres of travel. Every 96 seconds a driver was distracted by something other than the road in front of them!
Cognitive and Visual Distractions
There are two main types of distractions on the road – cognitive and visual.
Cognitive distractions are those things that require our brain to process a range of information at any one time. Some of the biggest cognitive distractions is holding conversations whether on the phone or with your passengers.
Visual distractions are those things that will take your eyes off the road, essentially making you drive as if you have your eyes closed. Issues such as texting, eating, adjusting music, and reaching for moving objects can all take your eyes off the road, leading to accidents.
Facts about Distracted Drivers
- Distractions were responsible for 32% of road accident deaths and injuries in Western Australia between 2005-2007. For every three fatal accidents, one was caused by a distracted driver.
- In Western Australia in 2017, 28 road deaths were caused by inattention.
- If you text while driving, you have a 23-fold increase in the chance of wrecking your car.
- A passenger who is distracting a driver can increase the chance of an accident by 60%. Children however can be four times more distracting than an adult passenger!
- Talking on the phone while driving? Your reaction time becomes equivalent to a 70-year-old.
- Six out of every 10 crashes caused by teen drivers are due to distractions.
How to Avoid Driving Distracted
Most of us have been distracted while driving, but there are some things we can do to change our habits to make us safer drivers including:
- Turning mobiles off when driving
- Adjusting all vehicle controls before leaving
- Taking a break to eat and drink instead of doing it while driving
- Checking a map or GPS prior so that you know where you are heading
- Asking passengers to be quiet if the roads are busy or you are having difficulty concentrating
- Stopping and giving children a break from the car if they are getting too noisy
- Ensure all pets are restrained correctly
- Making sure all windscreens and mirrors are clean and free of cracks before you set off.
Have you been involved in an accident due to or had your windscreen shattered by a distracted driver? Windscreen Replacement Perth provides a 24-hour emergency call out service for windscreen repair and replacement across the Perth area. Our mobile service can come to you and replace or repair the windscreen or windows on your car without fuss. If you need help any time of the day or night, don’t hesitate to give us a call.