Alongside speeding, driver distraction is the leading cause of fatal accidents on Britain’s roads, and it seems that we are all distracted from the road every time we drive. A recent study by Peugeot has shown what we have always expected, which is that on average drivers take their eyes off the road up to 7% per journey.

The level of distraction equates to drivers are not looking at the road for 2 miles every 30 miles they drive, which also explains why many accidents do occur.

Peugeot research

Peugeot researched to prove that their i-Cockpit technology reduces driver distraction. The i-Cockpit solution places functions such as the speedometer onto the front of the windscreen, so drivers do not need to look down to see the speed they are travelling at.

In Peugeot’s research, drivers carried out 25 identical 6-mile journeys in two SUVs, including different speeds and road types, while wearing glasses which featured six small cameras that could record where the individual was looking every 0.05 seconds, by tracking the eye movements and processing the results. One SUV had i-Cockpit, and the other one did not and had a standard speedometer.

The results of the study showed that drivers using the new i-Cockpit system took their eyes off the road 5% of the time and drivers with a regular speedometer took their eyes off the road 7% of the time. The test proved that checking a primary function such as the speed of the vehicle does contribute towards driver distraction.

Distracted while driving

A similar study carried out in 2017 by Direct Line used eye-tracking technology and found that drivers take their eyes off the road every 9 seconds. As well as that, a fifth of those asked admitted that they had had an accident because they were distracted while driving.

It also showed that 11 million drivers in the UK have crashed at some point in their driving career. Of those who had had an accident, the biggest reason drivers admitted was the cause of the crash was due to speeding and unsafe driving, but the second most significant reason was due to distraction inside the vehicle.

Being distracted when driving is a leading cause of fatal accidents, by staying alert and focused on the road it actively reduces the number of deadly crashes. It is hoped that research conducted over these studies will help to inform drivers better that they are being distracted on every journey they make, but there are several ways to reduce distractions.

How to reduce distractions

There are many things you can do to ensure you are distracted less while driving without needing to buy a Peugeot i-Cockpit vehicle. Make sure your phone is either off or on do not disturb mode. Some modern phones even have a ‘driving’ mode that will send an automated text response to anyone who calls or messages you to let them know that you are driving. Android and Apple are looking at imposing a driving mode where the phone automatically stops working once inside a moving car, but there is an option for passengers to unlock the phone’s functions too.

If you are driving with younger children, make sure they understand that you cannot distract the driver and help them to know why. With small children, it may be easier to make more extended journeys with someone else in the car who can talk to them and keep them entertained for more extended periods of time. When using a navigation system, keep it hung in the right place that causes the least distraction in the right corner of the windscreen, so you are not looking away from the road ahead for too long. If you are lost, rather than trying to adjust the sat nav while driving, pull over when safe and check then.

Music is another issue, and changing CD’s or tracks can lead to minor accidents and driving into the back of someone. Have everything set up before you leave, or ask the passenger to help. Use shuffle mode or autoplay and then don’t touch it again until you stop.

If you are feeling tired while driving, especially on a long motorway, it is better to be late than to be dead, so pull over and have a rest, eat a banana or drink a coffee and continue when you feel awake. While driving it is more often than not the unexpected that will catch you out, whether it is the person glued to a phone screen or an animal running out, so being aware of the unexpected can save lives.

Do you agree with the research and how often do you find yourself looking away from the road? What do you think should change to reduce driver distraction in cars? Is the Government strict enough about preventing mobile phone use in cars? Let us know in the comments below

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