Crash risk of drivers ‘distracted’ by Christmas decorations
British motorists are risking crashing their cars because they are distracted from ‘roadside eye catchers’ billboards, flashing signs and Christmas decorations, says Privilege Insurance.
Research from the insurance provider has revealed that 23 per cent of UK drivers have been so distracted while driving they have veered into the other lane, while 32 per cent have lost concentration while behind the wheel, potentially causing a serious accident.
Travel expert Dr Mark Young, from Brunel University, said, “Drivers visual workload varies through the course of a journey, and at crucial times negotiating a difficult roundabout, for example, there is a small but significant risk of distraction from novel stimuli like advertising.
“In fact, this risk is probably underestimated and we need to do more research on the possibility of excluding non-essential information when the driver is already busy dealing with the road.”
Managing director of Privilege Insurance, Ian Parker, said, “It appears that the development of new technologies, products and advertising techniques is getting in the way of road safety.
“The implications of the increase in eye catching roadside objects such as illuminating signs has not been monitored until today.”
According to Privilege Insurance, overall roadside distractions disturb the concentration of 83 per cent of UK drivers away from the roads, with male drivers most affected. One in five male motorists (22 per cent) quizzed admitted to being captivated by scantily-clad women on adverts, compared to just 11 per cent of female drivers distracted by semi-naked male models.
Festive cheer also poses a threat, the You Gov survey of more than 2,000 drivers claims, with 26 per cent of motorists confessing to losing concentration to advertising hoardings, a fifth (21 per cent) by the new vehicle activated signs and 17 per cent by Christmas lights and decorations.
Drivers are advised to take notice only of official signs and notices, saying them out loud as they pass if its aids concentration, constantly scan the road environment for other potential hazards and listen to mid-paced music to relieve boredom.
The research, also published today, reveals traffic jams are bad for the mood of drivers, and can result in TSS, a form of psychological anxiety, which manifests itself in certain drivers when they are stuck in traffic.