Why are Mobiles so Distracting While Driving?

By Liberty Insurance on 21 August 2014

Multitasking… Texting… Checking Twitter for traffic updates on your way to work.

Perhaps you don’t even realise you do it, but phone use while driving is becoming a bad habit for road users. With driver distraction playing a role in 20-30% of road collisions, phone use and driving is an issue that is escalating.

In our recent research we highlighted that 13% of drivers stated they engaged specifically in digital distractions behind the wheel.

13% of drivers stated they engaged specifically in digital distractions behind the wheel.

People are beginning to advocate against mobile phone distraction; one Irish family are urging not to text at the wheel after losing their daughter in a car accident. The father told the Irish Independent: “We want Irish road users to think of someone close to them. If that person wasn’t around. For the sake of a text, would you lose that person?”

“The link between picking up your phone and losing people is something that we need to create,” he said.

The biggest foe of the modern driver these days, the mobile phone makes drivers four times more likely to crash. This year the law on driving while using mobile phones changed: drivers caught texting and using mobiles will now be given a mandatory court summons and a fine as well as penalty points. Motorists could face up to €1,000 for first offence, and will rise to €2,000 for second offence.

The link between picking up your phone and losing people is something that we need to create.

The fact is the mobile phone makes drivers more likely to crash, but for what reasons?

The reality is whether you are tweeting, mapping your route, texting or making calls while driving, you are distracted in more than one of the following ways:

 

Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
Visual – taking your eyes off the road
Cognitive – taking your mind off driving

Texting: A Major Cause of Distraction
Texting is one of the leading causes of distracted driving, and here’s why it’s so dangerous: it encompasses all three of the major types of distractions. It requires you to manually take your hands off the wheel, you’re looking at your mobile instead of the road, and you have to mentally digest what you’re reading and think up a response – which takes your mind off driving.

Hands-Free Does Not Mean Distraction Free

Stay off the phone, even hands-free phones. The real issue at the core of talking on a mobile device while you’re driving is cognitive distraction. This means being distracted mentally by the topic of a conversation, as opposed to being physically distracted by operating the phone. The answer to avoiding this kind of distraction is by simply not answering your mobile phone when driving – if you absolutely have to, such as in the case of an emergency, pull over and park.

For advice on how to take action, avoid the distraction and #drivesafer see our previous blog.

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