Don’t be driven to distraction by your mobile phone

  • November 4, 2019

This post is in collaboration with Kwik Fit.

Since moving to Spain I’ve kind of had to learn to drive again, and it’s not something I’m enjoying! I hated driving lessons, though after passing my test 19 years ago I’ve obviously driven a fair bit since then.

Not only have I got to get used to a new car which is always difficult, but I now also have to get used to driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and having the gear stick on the wrong side as well. I’m used to the car, and the controls and driving on the right-hand side of the road now, but Spanish drivers certainly take some getting used to! They never indicate, they pull out of junctions without looking and don’t get me started on the fact they have no idea how to use a roundabout.

I’ve definitely found that I need to concentrate a lot more driving here than in the UK. Easier said than done when you have an 8-year-old chattering and singing non-stop in the back of the car. For example, today in a short 5-minute drive I was asked how clouds are made, how many toes a giraffe has, and told a very long boring story about Roblox. So yes, I know how hard it can be to focus when driving!

Obviously we know that being distracted when driving can affect our judgment, but it’s hard to know how much until you put it to the test. Kwik Fit has introduced a Driven to Distraction interactive quiz which asks you a series of questions on a mobile phone. The road is in front of you and the mobile phone screen pops up with multiple-choice questions about things like tyre pressure and crosswinds.

While you are answering the questions a stop sign will appear which you need to click on as fast as possible. The game records your reaction times with and without the distraction of the mobile phone.

It’s no surprise that my results were much slower when I was trying to answer the questions on the mobile phone. My reaction time was 0.238 seconds slower using the phone which might not sound a lot but at 30mph it would have taken me 3.306 metres longer to stop. That’s a long way if there are slow-moving cars in front of you or if someone steps out in front of the car.

And yes I did get the question about tyre pressure wrong. I am clearly much better at answering questions about clouds and giraffes than I am about cars!

It goes to show how important it is to concentrate when you’re driving. It’s so tempting to look at your phone, especially if you hear a notification pop up. Kwik Fit say 24% of drivers still read text messages while driving. I find this amazing, I can’t even walk in a straight line and read a text! I try to make sure my phone way out of my reach when I’m driving so that I can’t be tempted – in your bag in the passenger footwell is a good place, or on the back seat. You can also put your phone on silent so you won’t be distracted my message notifications.

Why not take the quiz yourself to see how you do – Driven to Distraction quiz.






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