Biggest Motoring Distractions Revealed

It is easy to get distracted when you are driving, especially if you are in a rush or are trying to multi-task behind the wheel. However, it is vital to remain focused when you are in control of a vehicle. Otherwise, the consequences could be devastating. Here, we reveal the most common distractions drivers face and explain how being caught “driving without due care and attention” or having even a minor accident could hike your motoring costs.

The most common distractions

MoneySupermarket asked more than 2,000 British motorists what they found distracting while they were driving. And according to more than half – 54% - of the respondents, music was the biggest distraction they faced behind the wheel. Reasons for it to break their concentration included that they were changing radio stations, shuffling through an iPod or just getting carried away singing along to their favourite tunes. Drinking was second on the list, with some 47% of the motorists who responded to the MoneySupermarket survey admitting that they drank hot and cold beverages while driving. Among drivers under the age of 20, meanwhile, eight in 10 admitted that drinking was a potential distraction while they were behind the wheel. Drinks are not the only items consumed while we are on the roads, though. The same percentage – 47% - of respondents to the survey said they also took their hands of the wheel to eat at times, with women more likely to be distracted by food than men. And while answering or making a call on your mobile phone while driving is illegal, 16% of drivers regularly make or take calls on their hands free systems. Worryingly, a similar number of motorists also take their eyes off the road to send text messages while driving, with under-20s once again the most likely to commit this offence. Other potential distractions include canoodling, something that 8% of drivers admitted to, and applying make-up while behind the wheel. Interestingly, most of those who had got “romantic” with a partner while driving were men. Of the 7% that admitted using cosmetics in the car, on the other hand, it probably won’t come as a shock to find out that the majority were women. For older drivers over the age of 70, meanwhile, falling asleep or dozing at the wheel is one of the biggest driving dangers.

The consequences of being distracted while driving

If you are caught engaging in one of the above activities while driving, the consequences can be serious. You could, for example, be charged with “driving without due care and attention”. This would not only result in a fine and penalty points on your licence, it would also make it harder to find reasonably priced insurance. MoneySupermarket figures show that a speeding conviction adds around 17% to the cost of an annual policy, while motorists with convictions for careless driving may find it difficult to obtain insurance at all. However, the most obvious problem with allowing yourself to get distracted while you are behind the wheel is not getting caught. Losing your concentration behind the wheel also dramatically increases your chances of being involved in an accident. And even if no-one is injured as a result of your distracted state, a minor crash can still push your car insurance premiums up significantly. After all, safe drivers who rarely make claims against their policies are the customers every insurer wants. Making a claim will therefore encourage them to increase their prices, while you will also lose any no-claims discount built up on your policy – potentially hiking the annual cost by 50% or more. You can, however, still cut your costs by scouring the market because some insurers will compete for your business, even if you have made a claim in the last 12 months.

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