Music, mobiles, laughing and joking. All signs of a good time, but in a car these things all increase the risk of a collision. Inattention is the most common reason for car crashes and one of the biggest problems facing you as a new driver is carrying friends in your car.
The Honest Truth about distractions
A good driver is in control of their vehicle always. If a driver is distracted, the risk of that vehicle being involved in a crash goes up. A lot.
- For younger and less experienced drivers, the risk of collision goes up with every additional passenger in the car. A new driver is five times more likely to crash if they have two or more passengers in the car.
- Statistically, more girls die as passengers than as drivers.
- Distractions inside a vehicle can be almost anything including: smoking, using a phone, loud music, changing music tracks, and talking with a passenger.
- All sorts of distractions, not just inside the vehicle, can cause collisions, like ‘rubber necking’, the weather, and other vehicles.
What can you do to be a good driver?
- Don’t allow your passengers to distract you. If your passengers are going to horse around they’re placing you, themselves and other people at risk. They’re also risking your licence. Make the rules of your car up front. You’re the boss so it is ‘My Car My Rules’
- Keep your music levels down and reduce the risk of any other distractions in your vehicle (for example put your mobile phone away where you can’t see it or hear it).
- Keep your eyes on the road and use your mirrors. Getting distracted by anything for too long means you’re attention isn’t where it should be and it only takes a second for a collision to take place.
What’s the law?
- ‘Being distracted’ in itself isn’t against the law, but the offences that are committed as a result of being distracted are.
- It’s illegal to use some distracting items such as hand-held mobile phone or device while driving (including sat-navs).
- If you are distracted and you speed for example, you would be committing an offence.
What’s the punishment?
The punishment would depend on the driving offence committed.
One evening Nick, 19, and two mates went out for a quiet drink with friends; the driver, DJ, had not had any alcohol, or taken drugs, and they were not speeding when they drove home.
DJ was within the 60mph speed limit on a dry clear road at night. He and his front seat passenger, Tim died – not because of anything other than a moment’s distraction when Nick who was sat in the rear of the car, leant forward to adjust the CD player or get a cigarette – he cannot remember which.
Nick remembers waking up in the remains of the car and could get no response from his mates. There was nothing he could do except think about how it had all happened because he had unintentionally distracted his friend for just for a moment.