Driving requires your full concentration all of the time. Trying to do something else while driving will distract you, slow your reactions and make a crash more likely. So what are the main distractions we encounter when behind the wheel and how can you steer clear of them…
Using a handheld or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and substantially increases the risk of crashing.
It is illegal to use a handheld mobile phone while driving (this includes holding the phone, dialling, texting, surfing the internet). It can also be illegal to use a hands-free phone while driving. Depending upon the circumstances, drivers could be charged with ‘failing to have proper control of their vehicle’, or careless or dangerous driving if they are distracted because they are using a hands-free phone or other device.
Hands free devices do not significantly reduce the risks because of the mental distraction and divided attention of taking part in a phone conversation or looking at the screen at the same time as driving.
It is now very common for drivers to use SatNavs. They can, if used properly, make driving safer and easier, but they can also increase risk (e.g., by distracting you) if not used properly.
If your vehicle is provided with technology, such as a SatNav, ask your manager for training or guidance on how to use it safely.
In particular, do not adjust or operate devices while actually driving. For example, set destinations in the SatNav before the journey starts. If you need to make adjustments or to input new information, only do so when stopped in a safe place.
Eating, Drinking, Smoking, Tuning the Radio
Many other things, that might seem simple and innocent, can be distracting when driving.
Fatal crashes have occurred because a driver chose to unwrap a sweet, take a drink or light a cigarette while driving.
Overall, the main thing to remember is that safe driving needs concentration, so avoid unnecessary distractions.
Throughout #OSHtober we will be providing you with tips and advice on how to ensure you drive safely for work. You can also keep up to date with all the latest safety news by signing up to SafetyMatters, our free monthly e-newsletter.
The 2019 RoSPA Road Safety Conference takes place at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on Wednesday, February 13. You can book your place HERE