Most of us would claim to be safe drivers. After all, we monitor what we drink and watch our speed. But what about the risks we don’t realise we’re taking? Whether it’s applying makeup or checking your cell phone, if you’re distracted from the road, you could put yourself – and others – in danger.
‘Women are busier than ever and use car journeys to multitask,’ says road-accident expert Duncan Bowker. ‘Cars are far more sophisticated these days, with hi-tech stereos and GPS systems, so there’s more potential to be sidetracked.’ So how do you stay safe on the road? COSMO explains all...
|Driving While Distracted
||After a blazing fight with your boyfriend, it’s tempting to jump in the car and screech off for a drive until you’ve calmed down. It’s the grown-up equivalent of slamming doors when you were a teenager, but with more dangerous consequences.
According to Duncan, ‘Driving while feeling highly emotional – be it angry or upset – will have a direct impact on your concentration levels. Your mind is distracted as you churn over how infuriated you feel after an argument – and the next thing you know, you’re running a red light or a pedestrian crossing because you’ve failed to notice it.’
Sally Watkins, 30, discovered this the hard way. ‘I celebrated New Year’s Eve in the bar with my boyfriend. Before the end of the evening, we had an almighty fight and he stormed off in a huff. I hadn’t been drinking so I left without him. I remember fuming with rage as I drove the familiar route home, probably faster than I should have. I didn’t even notice a truck until it was alongside me. The noise made me jump, so I steered sharply away, hitting a pavement. My car rolled over nine times before landing in a ditch at the bottom of a hill. I struggled free with only minor cuts and bruises before the car burst into flames. I had no idea that driving in such a state could’ve put me in that life-threatening situation. I’ll never do it again.’
How many times have you said something in the heat of the moment you’ve later regretted? Just make sure you don’t get into a car in a rage and do something that you’ll regret.
• Going for a drive may seem like a good stress-buster, but a long walk is much more effective and safer.
• If you’ve had some bad news, avoid driving aimlessly without a destination.
• lf you see a friend who’s upset or angry, try to get behind the wheel of their car, offer to drive them home or suggest they take a taxi.
|Driving While Exhausted
|Driving While Emotional