So widely publicised is the danger of using a mobile phone whilst driving, that we may be forgiven for neglecting the other, more common distractions we experience whilst making a journey in the car.

It’s a common occurrence to find ourselves rushing around, leaving no time to stop for a meal even. The temptation to eat on the run – or on the drive in this case, is too great and before you know it you’re attempting to navigate a BLT, hot coffee and a gear stick!

Although not illegal, (cross-country commuters will be relieved to hear), it can be dangerous to eat and drink whilst driving. We are instinctive creatures and where there’s a hot coffee about to tip over, there’s an outstretched hand trying to catch it – and inevitably the eyes will follow, taking your focus off the road.

Organising your day can stretch beyond making time to stop for dinner. Travelling with young children can be demanding; they have not much concept of your need to focus on driving, and will continue to ask questions and may even need you to pass them things which have been left in a bag near to you. Before setting off, place items your children may need within easy reach so that you will not need to take your attention away from driving.

Music is an obvious distraction when played too loudly, particularly when performing a parking manoeuvre for instance. Most drivers will benefit from being able to hear their engine so try to take it down a notch when negotiating small parking spaces.

Map reading and taking your coat off are things which could and should be done before getting into your vehicle. Write road names and exits in large writing on visible post-it notes, saving you the need to refer to your map whilst in motion. And ladies, even attempting to apply make-up can leave you with panda eyes or a nice Vauxhall imprint on your bonnet – or both! Time and a place perhaps?

And finally, repeat after us: ‘If you can’t reach it, leave it’! Trying to retrieve a CD from the passenger side door or the foot well is a stretch at the best of times and shouldn’t really be attempted whilst driving. Switch to the radio if you really don’t fancy another duet with Michael Buble.

Sarah Lingard


February 6, 2013

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