It could be quite the irony that some of the driving aids which have been created to make driving easier and safer than ever before may actually be having the opposite effect.

The UK’s motorists say that driving is becoming riskier because of distractions from satnavs, smartphones and iPads

Road Safety Under The Spotlight

With road safety coming under the spotlight due to the risks of winter driving, more than four out of five (84 per cent) of UK drivers say distractions from gadgets including satnavs, iPods, mobile phones and DVD players is now making driving riskier.

It’s almost 10 years since using a hand-held mobile phone while driving was banned, yet nearly half (48 per cent) of motorists admit to being distracted by phone calls and texts while driving, with 22 per cent checking social media accounts behind the wheel.

A Recent Study

The study carried out by insurer Zurich found that 80 per cent of 2,000 drivers feel more at risk on Britain’s roads today, compared with 10 years ago.

The research also found that a rise in the number of cyclists on Britain’s roads is contributing to drivers feeling at risk, with almost a third (34 per cent) blaming them as the number one distraction “outside of their control”.

Motorists also said they feel most at risk when navigating unknown roads (76 per cent), with many regularly distracted by complex signs (61 per cent), speed cameras (55 per cent) and roundabouts (39 per cent).

Top 10 road risks today versus 10 years ago:

1. More people using mobile phones (68%)

2. More cars on road (67%)

3. More reckless drivers (61%)

4. More urgency to get to destination (44%)

5. More people using sat navs (39%)

6. The number of vans/lorries on the road (30%)

7. More speed cameras (29%)

8. More cyclists (29%)

9. More signs on the road (27%)

10. More motorcyclists on the road (16%)

Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)

Neil Greig, the director of policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said: “Driving on UK roads has never been so distracting; gadget overload and the rise of complex road systems has meant that concentration is less and roads are trickier to read. With an increase in cyclists, there is another major risk factor in play too.”

Phil Ost of Zurich added: “While the rise of mobile technology has made it easier for us to communicate on the move, it’s also making our lives feel busier. Staying safe is far more important than staying in touch. Turn off your gadgets if you think you might be tempted to check them while driving.”

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