After time off the road during lockdown many motorists tell us they dread getting behind the wheel and this fear factor can affect their driving ability and concentration levels.
Of a typical 185,000 road traffic injuries and fatalities each year in Britain a significant percentage could have been prevented if motorists had been fully alert when driving ie less distracted behind the wheel.
Despite the practice being illegal and dangerous, some motorists still use their mobile phone whilst driving whilst others eat, drink and fiddle with info-tainment systems whilst the car is moving. This reduces their concentration levels and their ability to react to fast moving motoring events.
Another cause of driving accidents is ‘distractions outside the vehicle’ including the likes of eye-catching roadside advertising and being nosy about other vehicles involved in road traffic accidents.
Tips to Improve Driver Concentration
If you recognise any of these signs, you are at risk of being distracted at the wheel and we hope these tips will help you stay safer and improve your driving concentration.
1 Plan ahead. Always make sure your driver seat and mirrors are correctly positioned for maximum visibility and that any SatNav or info-tainment systems are correctly programmed for your journey BEFORE you set out.
2 Don’t drive if you’re too tired (and don’t have to). If you absolutely have to drive yet you didn’t get a good enough night’s sleep, resort to strong coffee at the outset and regular stops for some fresh air, food, drink and some exercise.
3 If travelling alone and feeling the need to concentrate, consider talking out loud, describing your car journey and surroundings in the greatest of detail. Sounds crazy perhaps but it works because you have to concentrate to do this well so you can’t be thinking about other things at the same time.
4 Put your mobile phone in the boot so you aren’t distracted by it when driving. Stop regularly to collect messages if need be.
5 Suggest that older children assume responsibility for looking after younger children so you can concentrate on driving.
6 Remember that accidents are caused when drivers are being nosy about other road accidents. This might be human nature but it’s too dangerous for you to indulge in, yet you need to be ultra alert to less savvy others doing this.
7 If travelling with children you might involve them to help you spot the speed limit signs. This helps them prepare for safer driving too.
8 Getting speed levels right. When driving on A or B roads why not play a driving game? The aim is to be doing precisely the lower speed limit when the driver enters a lower speed zone (as in entering a 30mph zone). Think of this as a curtain – when you drive through this curtain into the lower speed zone you should be doing the new speed precisely. You shouldn’t speed up until you pass through that curtain again, into a faster speed zone!!
These are all things that should help you concentrate, stay alert and avoid the many distractions we all face as part of our busy lives, when behind the driving wheel.