Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in other activities—such as looking after children, texting, talking on the phone or to a passenger, eating, or reading—that take the driver’s attention away from the road. All distractions compromise the safety of the driver, passengers, pedestrians and those in other vehicles.

Distracted driving contributes to the main killers on UAE’s roads (sudden lane change, driving too close to the vehicle in front, entering road without checking if clear and lack of attention).

RoadSafetyUAE conducted a research with a representative more than 1,000 UAE residents on their perception of distracted driving, and some of the main findings are: only 66% state, they are always fully focused behind the wheel; the leading causes of distraction are:

  • ‘in-vehicle’ – OWN behavior: changing radio/entertainment system (40%), adjusting air conditioning (34%), using the mobile phone (30%);
  • ‘in-vehicle’ – OTHERS’ behavior: passengers speaking to driver (44%), poorly behaving children (34%);
  • mobile phone usage details: only 26% state to ‘never’ use the mobile phone, 74% use the phone for incoming calls, 43% for outgoing calls, 19% for incoming messages, 14% for outgoing messages
  • ‘outside-vehicle’: behavior of other drivers (59%)!, complex road system (33%), road signs (32%);

Examples of media coverage of our research findings: Khaleej Times, The National

There are 4 main types of distraction:

  • Visual: taking your EYES off the road
  • Manual: taking your HANDS off the wheel
  • Cognitive: taking your MIND off of driving
  • Auditory: taking your EARS off (alarming) traffic sounds

Visual inattention (looking away from the road ahead) is the single most significant factor contributing to crash and near crash involvement.

While any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others, texting and talking on the phone while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all 4 types of distraction.

Watch out for these main forms of distraction:

  • Reckless behavior of other road users … stay calm!
  • Talking & Messaging over the phone … put it on silent & out it away!
  • Passengers speaking to the driver … raise awareness!
  • Poorly behaved children … explain & educate them!
  • Adjusting radio / entertainment system … set it before you start your trip!
  • Using navigation systems … set it before you start your trip!
  • Smoking, eating or drinking … refrain as much as you can!
  • Rubbernecking … just don’t do it!
  • Reaching for objects in car … just don’t do it!
  • Reading a map … ask others to do it, get set before your start!
  • Applying  makeup  or styling hair … just don’t do it!

Interesting Research findings:

A study by Monash University found that having one or more children in the car was 12 times more distracting than talking on a mobile phone while driving

Speaking on a cell phone while driving reduces focus on the road and the act of driving by 37%, irrespective of hands-free cell phone operation (Wikipedia)

The US Department of Transportation estimates that reaching for a cell phone distracts a driver for 4.6 seconds, or the equivalent of the length of a football field, if the vehicle is traveling 90km/h (Wikipedia).

It has been shown in research, that reaching for something inside the vehicle increases the accident risk by 9 times. Texting while driving increases the risk of an auto accident by 23 times.

A study by AAA found that talking to a passenger was as distracting as talking on a hands-free mobile phone.

More interesting research can be found here:  http://www.sr22insurance.net/distracted-driving/


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