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Don’t Be A Distracted Driver This Summer

phone

 

According to a recent report by Yahoo!, young drivers have admitted to being guilty of driving when distracted. 23% of young drivers said they’d nearly had an accident through carelessness behind the wheel, and 18% suggested that driving distractions have led them to driving through a red light.

In the UK, it is illegal to use a mobile phone at the wheel; this includes instances where a car is stationery but has the motor running. Drivers who are caught using a hand-held device behind the wheel risk being issued an automatic fixed penalty notice, 3 penalty points on their licence, and a £100 fine. At the moment, there is also talks of increasing the fine for those caught with a phone behind the wheel to £450. However, reports show that 42% of young people still use their hand-held devises at the wheel. Although a staggering result, surprisingly it didn’t top the charts as the most distracting thing drivers get up to while driving-  eating and drinking did! According to Yahoo!’s reports, 47% of young drivers agreed that their driving had been poorly affected through them eating and drinking at the wheel.

So what are the effects of being a distracted driver? Safecar have reported that distracted driving can lead to more than just a bump. Other consequences include poor lane discipline, inability to make quick decision, reduced situational awareness, inability to execute emergency manoeuvres and an inability to recognise and obey traffic signals and signs; all of which can be potentially dangerous to other motorists and pedestrians.

 

With RoSpa claiming drivers partake in at least one distracting activity per journey, here is a list of potential distractions you may face while driving this summer:

 

Loud music

car speaker

Summer always comes with a soundtrack of anthems that make you want to sing and dance. When the sun’s out, drivers often get tempted to crank up the volume and belt their hearts out to the roads ahead. However fun this may be, it can increase a driver’s risk of collision. Studies show that overuse of one sensory organ can result in the others underperforming. When it comes to loud music and driving, the overworking of the sound organs can lead to a decreased sense for spotting a hazard and, as a result, a delayed stopping time. As well as this, loud music will cover other sounds from your surroundings, including sirens from emergency vehicles and potentially any concerning noises your car makes. Stay safe by keeping your volume low enough to be aware of other sounds in your environment.

 

Glaring sun

sun

An unwelcomed distraction, sometimes the sun can be hard to avoid. On occasion, it may be possible to take an alternative route, with a clearer vision field, but this isn’t always an available option. It’s beneficial to utilise sun visors and perhaps invest in a pair of sunglasses. Decreasing your speed and using extra caution is recommended while driving in the sun, especially on routes prone to greater hazards, such as pedestrian and school zones. Where this won’t completely avoid the distraction of sun, it can minimise any potential dangers.

 

Bugs in the car

insects

It’s no secret that the warm weather brings out all of God’s creatures. Unfortunately, insects aren’t so polite, so find no qualms in trespassing in motorist’s cars. Where some proportion of drivers are happy to accommodate these bugs by ignoring them, for most, instinct dictates an attack of some sort. Swatting, spraying, brushing and flinching can all lead to jerking or drifting while driving, which can lead a driver into greater danger. Whilst bug-phobes are using up all their efforts to flick the creatures away, they’re not giving the roads their full attention, leading to delayed reactions. Avoid bug-mishaps by opting for the air con, instead of opening your windows.

 

Moving objects (taking kids/pets on a drive)

kids in car

Driving or not, it is only human to become distracted by things that just won’t sit still.
Parents and pet owners may know this all too well, and when it comes to driving with fidgets, they could be decreasing the driver’s attentiveness. Where it is wholly inappropriate to keep children and pets tied up, there are some ways to keep their movements to a minimal. Keeping children and pets fed and hydrated and making sure they have activities to keep them occupied are both ways to keep them from distracting drivers.

 

Friends and talking

friends

No summer road trip is complete without a good crowd of friends to enjoy the time with. In some cases, the drive is the perfect opportunity to have a laugh and a good old catch up. However, being caught up in all the laughs and jokes can distract drivers from the important task of keeping their friends safe along the journey. Social Media is now, for the most part, disallowing any part of an individual’s life from being undocumented. In a group, it is almost unheard of to not share adventures with the rest of the world via platforms such as Twitter and, most commonly, Snapchat. However, performing for the world, while behind the wheel is risky business, and not worth the potential destruction it may cause. Keep you and your friends safe during a road trip by sitting out on the mischief throughout the journey, and keeping your full attention on the roads.

 

Day dreaming and Scenic views

scenic

When driving down long stretches of road on a summery day, it’s easy to get lost in thoughts of bliss. While zooming through scenic routes, it’s easy to imagine yourself in the set of a glamourous film. But having your heads in the clouds, can lead to your reactions becoming delayed, should you face a hazard. Reports state that daydreaming cannot be eliminated completely; only decreased. The problem with daydreaming behind the wheel is that you can feel completely in control of your surroundings, when in reality you are barely conscious to it. Decrease the chances of a wandering mind by keeping your eyes active. Glaring at the same stretch of road can make you lose focus; however, changing your gaze every few seconds will disallow your mind to roam too far off. Staying self-aware is key to avoid daydreaming distractions, and could be a life saver.

 

Following from Yahoo!’s report, here’s the complete list of driving distractions that young people admitted to committing:

  • Mobile phones – 42%
  • Food and drink – 48%
  • Looking at something outside of car – 44%
  • Changing CD/radio station – 1/3
  • Music streaming apps – 27%
  • Applying make-up or skin care products – 13%
  • Styling hair – 12%

Other distractions noted by RoSPA included:  driving when drowsy, listening to an audiobook, lack of familiarity with a vehicle, reading, and smoking; all of which can be easily avoided. Before setting off on a journey of any length, it is important to make sure you and your car are both fit for purpose. This will not only allow for a more enjoyable journey, but also a safe one. Remember, you are risking more than your own life when driving inattentively; you are also responsible for the safety of other road users and pedestrians. Stay safe by steering clear of any tempting distractions, and taking extra precautions when experiencing the unavoidable ones.

Are you putting off your service to save money?

According to a recent survey from GoCompare, over a third of UK motorists are avoiding regular car services just to save a bit of cash.

It might seem a good idea at the time but regular servicing can work out a lot cheaper than the cost of a repair, which is what you could end up paying for if you continue to put off regular maintenance.

Delaying regular servicing on your vehicle is a false economy, particularly in light of the fact you could be getting your vehicle serviced on average, twice at an independent garage for the cost of one service at a main dealer, as recent information released by the Independent Garage Association shows!

Over 10 million (36%) UK motorists have put off servicing their vehicles to save cash, and over a quarter of us are guilty of travelling more than 2000 miles over our car manufacturer’s recommended mileage before getting a service. According to the same report from GoCompare, one in ten of you could be driving illegally by delaying replacing worn out or damaged tyres! Not only can this put you at risk of losing control on the road, it can also result in a serious driving offence which carries a fine of up to £2,500 and three points on your licence!

This is what you’re saying on Facebook

Facebook snapshot - car servicing

Think back to the last time you got your car serviced and ask yourself these two questions:

1. Was it a franchise or independent garage?

2. How much is their hourly labour rate?

By visiting an independent garage for a service, you could pay, on average, £40 an hour less than if you used a franchise dealer.

The IGA polled over 2,000 of its members on their labour rates and states that independent garages continue to offer motorists the very best value for money.

False Economy…

Since the recession officially hit around 2008, times have been tough for all of us. The total cost of running a vehicle seems to be constantly rising so it’s no surprise that people put off servicing when it’s not compulsory. BUT delaying essential servicing and repairs could render your vehicle unsafe and you can end up with much more damage in the long run. In short – preventing a problem early on can help keep car maintenance affordable in difficult times.

Let’s talk figures…

Average labour cost for independent garages = £40

Average labour cost for franchise garages = £95.94

Top 5 lowest prices by region:

1. Cambridgeshire = £34

2. Herefordshire = £35

3. Staffordshire = £36

4. Leicestershire = £36

5. Cumbria = £37

Every member of Trust My Garage (TMG) is an independent garage and provides each customer with a reliable and affordable service. By visiting a TMG member you get all the added benefits of a garage belonging to a reliable, recognised network, without the added cost of belonging to a franchise brand. SEE OUR OWN INFOGRAPHIC WITH ALL THE RESULTS HERE

What the members say:

Garage: Westfield Motors, Essex

“From our perspective skipping servicing is a false economy! Dirty or old oil will make your engine and gearbox unhealthy. If you aren’t checking your engine oil level between services and it runs too low then you could end up looking for a second-hand engine! Brakes need checking regularly for safety reasons, the same as brake fluid! For cars that have cam belts, by not servicing regularly and changing it on time this can also result in engine failure! A service will enable you to be made aware of any broken coil springs (usually caused by potholes) and this could result in cracking and piercing a tyre.

We have a 52 reg VW Golf that is approaching 300,000 miles!  Key to this vehicle getting to that incredible mileage? The customer brings it in every 10,000 miles for a service without fail!”westfield motors workshop

If you take your car to a Trust My Garage member for regular servicing this will help to identify when any repairs may be required and save you money in the long run. It’s a win-win situation!