*This is a collaborative post*
As a busy parent who lives in a small village I spend a significant amount of time in the car, like a lot of parents I’m sure. Whether it’s the school run, taking Dil to different clubs (at the moment he’s really loving parkour!), doing the food shop or going to see friends – not much is in walking distance for us. Obviously staying safe on the roads is really important, but it can also be a bit frustrating to spend so much time driving when you’ve got other things to get done. Often while driving I’ll remember an email I need to reply to, a text I need to send, or someone I meant to call. We all know that it is dangerous (and illegal) to use a mobile phone whilst driving, but in all honesty can you say that as you’re driving along you’ve never been tempted to quickly reach for your phone?
Kwik Fit Research
Kwik Fit recently conducted some research on the subejct and the results were interesting. 19% of the surveyed drivers said they sometimes take phone calls whilst driving. 17% admitted to reading a text from their phone, and 12% said they actually write and send texts whilst on the road. All of these actions would be enough to result in a penalty (that’s 6 points and a large fine) if you were caught by the police, and they also mean your attraction is elsewhere and you (and those around you) are much less safe on the road.
Driven to Distraction
To show how much this distraction can slow down your response time Kwik Fit has put together their Driven to Distraction game which compares how quickly you normally react with how quickly you react when you’re also reading from a phone. As well as showing how much slower you were able to react when distracted, it will also let you know how much longer it would’ve taken you to stop. Now imagine you were stopping because of a hazard like another car or a person in front of you, and think about what kind of effect that delay could actually have. Give it a go and see how you do, and share it with your friends to show them how important it is to keep your eyes on the road.
How to stay safe on the roads
By avoiding the distraction of your phone whilst driving you’ll be keeping yourself and other road users safe, and also avoid any potential fines or penalty points. Here are a few tips and things you can do to make sure you aren’t tempted to make the wrong choice while you’re on the road.
Use your sat nav safely
Lots of us (most possibly?!) are probably using our phones as sat navs these days – they are handy things! My new car has a built in sat nav but I actually prefer to use Google Maps as it gives traffic information and an accurate arrival time. To keep yourself safe and legal when using your phone’s GPS make sure you set it up before you drive, and place it somewhere easily visible using a car phone holder so you don’t need to take your eyes off of the road to see where it’s telling you to go.
Turn off notifications
In order to avoid the temptation of reading a new message as it pops up on your screen, opt to temporarily turn off notifications whilst you’re in the car. You can do this by turning your phone off, putting it into airplane/do not disturb mode or if you have an iPhone you can make use of Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving function which should be available if you have iOS 11 or later. This setting can be set to turn on automatically while you’re driving in the car, and it can send a personalised message to anyone trying to contact you explaining that you’re driving but will contact them when you’re parked.
Use Bluetooth/hands free functions where possible
Lots of cars now have a Bluetooth function, and will have voice activated controls meaning you can make or answer a phone call without having to touch your phone. This is a sensible option, but remember than speaking on the phone to someone (regardless of whether you’re holding your phone) could still be a distraction from the road. Save important conversations for once you’ve arrived, or better yet have them in person over coffee and cake because that’s good for the soul!
Put it away if you can’t resist
Sometimes the safest thing to do is remove the temptation completely, and you can do this by putting your phone away and out of sight when driving. Place your mobile in your bag or within the car’s glove box, and retrieve it once your journey is done. That way there’s absolutely no chance of being distracted and your attention is exactly where it should be – the road in front of you.
Have you had a go at Kwik Fit’s Driven to Distraction game? Were you surprised by how much difference the extra distraction made and does it make you think twice about reading that quick text on your phone? Let me know below!