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Avoiding Distraction Whilst Driving

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 11 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Avoiding Distraction Whilst Driving

In survey after survey, children always come out top of the list of the biggest distractions that motorists suffer while driving, usually because they are arguing and fighting or because they are suffering from motion sickness.

So What Can You Do?

If they are prone to arguing and fighting with each other, plan well in advance and bring something along that will distract them and stop them from getting bored. In-car entertainment systems are great for this if you can afford them.

Motion sickness can really put a dampener on long journeys and medical estimates put the number of people who suffer from it in some form at over 80%. However it's not all doom and gloom as there are a number of things you can do to reduce the effects, such as:

  • taking over-the-counter remedies. Visit your local pharmacy and ask the chemist to help you make a choice. Remember that if you are driving then you shouldn't take anti-motion sickness meds as they can make you drowsy and affect your driving ability.
  • Invest in acupuncture bands
  • If possible, allow the person who suffers from motion sickness to sit in the front seat of the car and look straight ahead.
  • Keep a window open for some fresh air.
  • Make sure there is a good plastic bag in the car or a container in case the worst happens. If someone is ill you don't want it happening all over your car.

If you think your child or a passenger is going to be sick, pull over carefully and get them out of the car as long as it is safe to do so.


If you need to travel with pets in the car, it's a good idea to get some kind of restraint. The last thing you need is a cat jumping on your shoulder or a dog climbing all over the place when you're trying to navigate a busy roundabout. If it is cats or small animals you are transporting, use an appropriate carrier to keep them contained. If you're travelling with a dog, you should invest in the appropriate harness which can be bought from any good pet store. Usually these will utilise your existing seat belt fittings and will be easy to use.


Lots of motorists struggle with maps as they are driving. We've all seen them on the motorway with their maps spread out across the steering wheel as they try to work out where they are heading and which way they need to go. It's impossible to read a map while driving safely. If you need to have something to refer to, make bullet point directions on a pad before you set off and pull over somewhere safe so that you can check it. This is quicker than fighting with a map or an A-Z while you are trying to drive.

Newspapers are a big no-no. Commuters often have a newspaper spread across the passenger seat to read when they hit the inevitable rush hour traffic jams. Although it can be really frustrating to be stuck in traffic, it's not a good idea to start reading - you can't concentrate on the road and what's going on if you're trying to read the paper or a magazine at the same time.

Brushing Hair and 'Fixing' Make Up

Seems unbelievable but it's true - hundreds of women still do this despite the dangers it brings. If you need to do your make up while you're in the car then you need to start getting ready earlier! It's a dangerous and silly thing to do and if you get caught by a police officer brushing your hair or putting your mascara or lipstick on while at the wheel, then you'll probably end up with a charge of driving without due care and attention and possibly even careless driving.

Don't be fooled into thinking it's just women that check themselves out in car mirrors either. Men are often guilty of gazing at themselves in their rear view mirrors too.

Eating, Drinking and Smoking

You shouldn't eat, drink or smoke while you're driving. If you accidentally drop your cigarette and burn yourself, you could end up so distracted that you cause a major accident. Hot drinks and driving with one hand on the wheel while you eat a sandwich can also be dangerous. Use your common sense and eat as little as possible while actually on the move.

Mobile Phones

Using a hand held mobile phone while driving is illegal in the UK. It’s also incredibly distracting, so don’t risk getting caught out, or worse, causing an accident.


If you want to change your music, try to make sure that you are in a safe place to do so. It seems like a really simple and easy thing to do, but you can take your eyes off the road for more than 5 seconds while changing a cassette tape, which depending on your speed, could see you travel the length of several football fields. Make a compilation tape or CD and keep it in your car so you don’t end up channel hopping every five minutes to find a song you like.

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