Driven to Distraction?

I think we’ve all been there…stuck in a car, perhaps in a traffic jam, the kids are arguing and your phone’s ringing. However, we also know that it’s illegal to use your phone whilst driving – even in stationery traffic.

It might come as a surprise to you just how distracting mobile phones can be and what a difference it can make to our reaction times. Even at the lowest of speeds, a split second could mean the difference between life and death.

Kwik Fit have recently launched a new campaign called #DriventoDistraction with the aim of raising awareness of the impact that being distracted by our mobile phones causes.

The campaign looks at how you can be distracted whilst driving and how it can negatively effect your reactions. Kwik Fit have created an online interactive quiz which records your reaction time in different scenarios and compares the results. In the first scenario you will be asked to tap the screen as soon as you see the ‘stop’ sign. In the second scenario you will be asked to answer a question on a mobile phone which appears whilst also looking out for the ‘stop’ sign.

Based on the test I took, I reacted 0.258 seconds slower when distracted by answering the question on the mobile phone. In real terms, if I were travelling at 30mph, it would have taken me over 3.5 metres longer to stop than my initial attempt.

I didn’t think such a small difference in my reactions would result in me travelling metres more. It’s quite scary when you think what the results of this could be in a real life situation. Now, I quite often think I should put my phone in the boot to avoid any unnecessary distractions but then I also panic and think that if I needed to make a call in an emergency I’d quite like it within arms reach. So, I place it in the door or armrest where I can’t see the screen and so there’s no chance of me glancing away from the road.

Now, if only there was a way I could place the kids out of ear shot….!

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