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Distraction when driving

Lets face it, we have all done it, you are driving along the road when something interesting catches your eye out the window. Maybe that time you got away with it, but it's surprising how many accidents are caused by that one momentary lapse of concentration. Often tiredness or even boredom on a long journey can allow us to be more susceptible to outside distractions.

There plenty of possible distractions inside the car too. One of the more common distractions inside the car is caused by children misbehaving or arguing in the back seat. Other things that take your attention away from the road include MP3 players, sat nav's and mobile phones. Whatever the reason, if you allow yourself to be distracted too often, sooner or later you may end up having an accident.

In car equipment

As our cars become more and more crammed with equipment the likelihood of being caught out when fiddling with the sat nav or trying to find your favourite track on the MP3 player increases. If any operation or adjustment needs to be made that requires you to look away from the road for more than half a second, then you could be putting yourself and your passengers at risk. Unless you can make the adjustment with no more than a quick glance, then you should wait until either the car is stationary or find a safe place to pull over.

Troublesome children

Children get bored easily especially on long journeys. Try to provide them with things to do on their journey like reading or playing handheld games. In car video players are also helpful because they usually attach to the backs of the front seats, so the child does not have to look downwards and should avoid the possibility of motion sickness.

Rubber necking

There have been many documented cases of overly curious drivers looking at an accident on the opposite carriageway and then causing one themselves as a result. This slightly strange habit some people have is commonly known as 'rubber necking'. It's hard to believe but some people will actually slow down as well as taking their eyes off the road, which is even more dangerous! If you pass by an accident, keep your eyes on the road, or you may cause one yourself.


Trying to read a paper map or anything at all when driving is asking for trouble. Reading requires a lot of attention and in the time it takes to read one sentence, your car may have travelled several hundred feet, without you looking!


Animals or pets should always be restrained when travelling in a vehicle. Whether you use a partitioned section in your car or some kind of travel cage it does not matter, but the animal must not be allowed to move around inside the vehicle as this could easily distract the driver.

Eating, drinking and smoking

Eating and drinking should always be avoided when driving. You are not fully in control of your car with one hand on the wheel, also if you drop a hot drink into your lap whilst travelling at speed, the shock may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Smoking whilst driving is also not advisable. Again the shock of dropping hot ash onto yourself could be enough to lose control and have an accident.

If need to eat drink or smoke, find somewhere safe to pull over and stop first.

Mobile phones

Using a hand held mobile phone whilst on the move is illegal in the UK. Even using a hands free phone can distract you to some extent, so if you have to make a call then just pull over safely somewhere first. If the phone rings, ignore it, stop when you can and call them back.

Don't be distracted

Avoid putting yourself in any situation where you may be distracted when you are driving. In those few moments when your attention is not on the road another car may have pulled out in front of you or the car in front may have braked suddenly, causing an accident. Driving a vehicle requires your full attention, don't risk it.

If you have been involved in a car accident and would like further advice, please give us a call us on 0845 6768898 or complete our online claim form and one of our experienced advisors will be happy to help.

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