Some years ago I saw a horrendous example of what can happen when a motorist is distracted by a mobile phone. I was in South London minding my own business when a recovery vehicle drove towards me while towing a broken down car.
The man in the broken down car was supposed to be steering his vehicle as he was being towed along. Instead he was using his phone and there was suddenly a huge thud as his car mounted the pavement on the opposite side of the road. All four wheels were right up on the pavement and had anybody been walking along that stretch of path, they would have been seriously injured.
The near-miss I saw is one of many such incidents. Tyre replacement and servicing specialist Kwik Fit claims there have been 2.7 million motorists have been involved in collisions or veered off road while distracted by their phone. Despite it being illegal, Kwik Fit says 24% of motorists still read text messages while driving.
For anyone curious to see how easy it is to be distracted by a mobile phone while driving, Kwik Fit has created an online game called Driven to Distraction which you can play by following this link. I’ve had a go at playing the game and it’s fascinating just how much of impact it can have on your driving using a phone at the wheel.
The game simulates driving along a road and you have to click on the screen when a stop sign appears. You then have to try it again, but this time while reading text messages that flash up on screen. The game then calculates how much longer it took you to stop second time around and tells you the stopping distance. Let me tell you the results can be eye opening!
To ensure I am not disturbed while driving, I often put my phone into airplane mode. Some phones also have a ‘do not disturb’ setting. When you put it on, the phone won’t ring or ping and whoever is trying to contact you will get a text message explaining that you are driving and you’ll get back to them as soon as you are able. I thoroughly recommend taking this approach while driving because even if you aren’t the kind of person to check your phone while driving, a text message alert or phone call can be very off putting if you are driving.
What tips do you have to ensure you aren’t disturbed while driving? Have you played Driven to Distraction? If so, what impact did it have when you were distracted by the text on the phone?
Disclosure: This collaborative article was produced in association with Kwik Fit.
Photo credit: Photo by A. Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.