Good Drivers Just Drive

Inattention, caused generally by a road user being distracted, is the most common factor reported by police in fatal and serious injury crashes. Each year nearly half of all reported casualty crashes are attributed to inattention.

Driving is a complex task and requires the use and coordination of various skills – physical, cognitive and sensory. Despite this, drivers still engage in numerous activities whilst driving that can distract the driver’s attention from the task. These range from using mobile phones, to staring at an activity alongside the road, adjusting the controls of audio equipment, eating and drinking and distractions caused by children.

Research shows distractions can cause:

  • Drivers to straddle lanes on a multi lane road or veer across the road;
  • Drivers to drive inconsistently, speeding up or slowing down without apparent reason;
  • Difficulty in maintaining appropriate following distances from vehicles in front (eg tailgating);
  • Slower reaction times and hence heightened crash risk;
  • Impairment of the drivers judgement and awareness of safe gaps in traffic.

Drivers are more often distracted by activities that occur within the car than outside the vehicle. The major distraction activities, rated from highest to lowest, are:

  • Using/dialling mobile phone;
  • Adjusting radio, cassette, compact disc (CD);
  • Adjusting vehicle/climate controls;
  • Eating or drinking;
  • Passenger/children distraction.

Drivers believe the most common driving distraction is the use of hand held mobile phones. Specifically, drivers surveyed believed that using SMS is the distraction most likely to cause a crash with the next most distracting activities cited as:

  • Speaking on a mobile phone;
  • Replacing a CD;
  • Changing radio stations;
  • Reading a street directory, diary or map.

Do you drive like that? (I'm sorry, I drove like that sometime. I won't do that again. How about you? Leave your comments to me)