Distracted Driving an Australian Epidemic

Distracted Driving an Australian Epidemic

Despite the warnings, despite the fines and penalties and despite the scary crash statistics, Australian motorists just won’t leave their smartphones alone while they drive.

Youi Insurance has highlighted new figures that show as many as 80% of Australian adults will have a smartphone by 2017, this, they say, will only exacerbate the problem of driver distraction and mobile phone use.

In an effort to try and curb the potentially life-threatening problem, the high-profile car insurance company has provided Behind the Wheel Car Advice with advice on how phones distract us and how we can avoid being a distracted driver.

Physical Distraction

When your phone, previously lying silent next to you on the passenger seat, trills, beeps or whistles, you reach out and grab it, leaving just one hand on the wheel. Only with both hands on the wheel can you maintain full control!

Visual Distraction

Your phone didn’t just beep and vibrate for no reason - you’ll likely have a text message, social media notification or a phone call. This means that your eyes are drawn from the road ahead, and instead focus on a tiny screen. You’re now no longer looking out for other road users, important traffic signs and could even stray out of your lane.

Cognitive Distraction

This is perhaps the most dangerous distraction of all. The world’s greatest multi-taskers will still experience great trouble driving safely and carrying on a conversation or tapping out a text.

When you use a mobile phone whilst driving, your attention is severely compromised. That’s because concentration and judgement are divided between the two tasks, meaning that juggling them becomes extremely difficult - and dangerous.

So how can you stop using your smartphone behind the wheel?

The best way to stop your smartphone from distracting you while you are driving is to turn it off. When your phone is off, it can’t ring or vibrate, and thus, you’ll be far less tempted to pick it up.

For an even more extreme idea, why not put it in the boot for your journey? This way, it will be physically impossible to switch it back on - and your journey will be more peaceful, too!

There are even apps that will prevent you from using your phone when it’s in the car. Instead, should you receive a text or phone call, the app will send out an automated reply, alerting the caller that you’re driving and will respond when it is safe to do so.

If you really do have to make a call, be sure to pull into a safe spot to do so - no message or conversation is worth putting your life in harm’s way.

Thanks Youi for those handy tips! Got any tips you would like to share with us and other Behind the Wheel readers? Send us an email via [email protected] or use the Contact page.

About the author

Kate Richards

Kate has always had an interest in writing and cars and now as a key member of the Behind the Wheel website team she gets to spend her days consumed by both. Aside from being a contributor and an editor at Behind the Wheel, Kate enjoys driving her Lancer EVO and walking her beloved dog, Max!

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