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I will put my hands up and admit to being a bit of a nervous passenger, especially on motorways. I would like to say that I am very observant about what is going on around us - but even as a passenger I am often distracted by changing music or looking at my phone and things can happen in a split second.
Like many other drivers, my husband uses his phone as a Sat Nav. Before we leave for a little road trip he will tap in the postcode and attach his phone to the dashboard and listen out for the directions.
Unfortunately, 19% of drivers who have been surveyed admitted that they sometimes take calls while driving, 17% admit that they read texts off of their phone, and 12% send texts. All of these reasons (including using your sat nav) can result in a penalty if the police pull you over and find that it was distracting you.
I tried out a game on my phone to test my reaction times. I was 0.304 seconds slower to react to a stop sign whilst using my phone. At 30 mph this could have taken 4.222 metres longer for me to stop. That's a long way in slow moving traffic or when an unknown hazard pops up.
So, we all know our phones are a big part of our day to day lives and it is extremely tempting to answer it whilst driving - what can we do to make a difference?
If you know the directions of where you are driving to, leave your phone out of reach. Most calls can wait and yes even if you are stuck in traffic do you really need to check your social media?
If you do use your phone as a sat nav, make sure it is secured fully and not just balanced on your dashboard, ours has fallen off many times.
Work out your journey before you leave, if something does go wrong. pull over at a safe place and re-input the postcode rather than trying to type it in yourself or asking a passenger which again causes a distraction.
Make sure music is not too loud, if you use a playlist on your phone, decide on this before you set off. Searching for the song or album you want whilst driving is extremely distracting.
If you are going on a long journey and travelling with kids, bring some bits to keep the children occupied, be it little colouring books, magazines or even an iPad.
Get a good nights sleep beforehand, easier said than done sometimes, but driving whilst tired is never a good idea.
Don't eat whilst driving. If you are on the motorway and have pulled in to a drive-through don't be tempted to carry on your journey and eat whilst driving. Take a break, get some fresh air and enjoy your food.
We are probably all guilty of the above but when it comes to safety and lets be frank your life and the lives of the others in the car - these are simple tips that should be followed.