Driven to distraction: Dangers of losing concentration at the wheel highlighted in videos

It's easy to lose concentration behind the wheel, as the IAM has highlighted in 3 videos

Screaming children asking “are we there yet”, yapping dogs and irritating ringtones – just three things that have the potential to distract you while driving.

But would they put off even the most experienced of motorists?

A road safety charity put a former Formula 1 test driver under pressure in a virtual car simulator.

The premise being, this guy drives for a living – so if he can get distracted, then so can you.

IAM RoadSmart created three short videos on different aspects of common driver distractions starring Darren Turner; namely children, mobile phones and pets.

Turner now races for Aston Martin in the FIA World Endurance Championship and was official test driver for the McLaren Formula 1 team in 2006.

In the videos Darren attempts to drive an Aston Martin racing simulator around a virtual circuit while contending with a barking dog, ringing mobile phone and noisy five-year-old child.

Darren said he was surprised at how easy it was to be distracted. “A professional racing driver is expected to maintain full concentration all the time while at the wheel – but I was surprised at how easy it was to take your eye of the ball for a second and end up clouting the barrier in the simulator.

“Translate that to the real road, and the consequences could be far more serious.”

In all of the videos, advice is offered on how best to deal with the dreaded distractions.

Figures from the Department for Transport in 2013 found 2,995 cases where distraction in the vehicle was listed as a contributory factor to accidents.

Rebecca Ashton, IAM RoadSmart’s Head of Driver Behaviour, said: “In our videos we see Darren tackle some very common distractions that any driver could face.

“It shows that even the best drivers can struggle if they’re distracted for even a second.”

She advised drivers to always pull over in a safe place if they need to pick up a dropped toy, calm a frightened pet or answer the phone.

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