Nearly 84% of UK drivers have taken their eyes off the road, due to an in-car distraction, says More Than. Applied to the UK driving population, this could mean as many as 11.4 million licensed drivers have been dangerously distracted at the wheel.
The top distractions that caused a car accident or near miss include:
- adjusting the radio (7%),
- kids shouting (6%), and
- interesting sites and locations outside (6%).
The research, released by MORE TH>N to coincide with Road Safety Week, shows that nearly one in ten (7%) drivers claimed on their insurance following an accident caused by an in-car distraction. These claims cost an average of £472 to repair, costing the insurance industry around £1.3 billion in total.
The findings follow MORE TH>N’s ‘Give Your Mobile the Boot’ campaign in 2017, which provided tips to help phone-addicted motorists put down their mobiles when driving.
Since the 2017 study, the proportion of drivers who check their social media while behind the wheel has decreased from 28% to 3%. While it’s positive that fewer people seem to be using their phone while driving, the same vigilance should be applied to other potential distractions too.
MORE TH>N asked drivers about whether they think certain items or behaviours should be banned from cars to make driving safer. The top three distractions drivers thought should be banned are:
- personal grooming, such as brushing hair, putting on make-up and painting nails (62%),
- driving with pets not secured in a cage or harness (59%), and
- wearing flip flops while driving (47%).
The wrong footwear can be a significant contributor to car accidents. When asked which types of footwear should be banned due to the lack of control they provide while driving, seven in ten (68%) said flip flops and three fifths (60%) said high heels. Slippers (47%) and wellington boots (39%) were also among the most dangerous types of footwear acknowledged by drivers.
Gareth Davies, Head of Motor Insurance at MORE TH>N, said:
In-car distractions not only put drivers’ lives at risk, but those of passengers and pedestrians too. If we learn anything during this year’s Road Safety Week, it should be to remain totally focused while behind the wheel. We hope that highlighting some of the most common distractions will help drivers to remain vigilant and reduce the likelihood of an accident occurring.”