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Driven to distraction: Motorists spend a FIFTH of their time not looking at the road
Researchers found drivers take their eyes off the road every nine secondsClouds, scenery and sat navs blamed for distractions
07:49 GMT, 19 December 2012
The alarming extent to which drivers lose concentration has been highlighted by researchers.
Motorists take their eyes off the road for almost a fifth of their time behind the wheel, rising to nearly a quarter if they use a satnav, a study reveals.
Evidence from revolutionary eye-tracking technology shows that drivers take their eyes off the road every nine seconds on average attracted by passing clouds, adverts, scenery and a host of other distractions.
Distracted drivers take their eyes off the road every nine seconds – and spend nearly one fifth of their time behind the wheel not watching the road at all
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT
What motorists really look at when driving:
3 Sat nav
5 Advertising posters
9 Parked vehicles
The results emerged after the
researchers took 100 drivers and recorded where their eyes were focused
during a 22-minute drive through a city.
Specialist glasses pinpointed the exact
focus of the eye by tracking microscopic movements in the cornea.
experiment was captured on film and enabled researchers to establish
exactly where drivers focus their vision.
The study found that on average drivers
spend 18 per cent of their time behind the wheel not watching the road.
Those who use satnav devices spend 22 per cent of their time focused
away from the road.
They spend 12 per cent of their time behind the
wheel looking at their satnavs and 10 per cent on other distractions.
For a driver travelling from London to
Brighton, a journey of one and half hours, this is equivalent to 11
minutes with their eyes fixed on their satnav screen.
The study found that 17.8% of drivers are not looking at the road when they drive
Motorists might have been forgiven for being distracted by this cloud which resembles the British Isles. Walker Sue Strang photographed the distinctive shape
Clouds are one of the major distractions for motorists who can't keep their eyes on the road
Average motorists spend 7 per cent of
their time behind the wheel looking at buildings, clouds and scenery,
0.8 per cent of it gazing at adverts, 0.7 per cent reading maps, 0.2 per
cent checking the radio and 0.1 per cent looking at their passengers,
according to the study.
Only 2 per cent of their time is spent looking at oncoming vehicles and 0.6 per cent observing road signs.
They spend the same amount of time, 3
per cent, watching pedestrians who are not crossing the road as they do
checking their mirrors.
But analysis of film footage showed that
while both men and women are distracted by good looking pedestrians,
only men turned their heads completely away from the road as a result.
Simon Henrick, a spokesman for Direct
Line car insurance, which commissioned the study, said: ‘For the first
time we know exactly where people focus their eyes when driving and the
results are frightening.
‘Even when drivers appear to be watching
the road, by tracking movements in the cornea, we now know they are
often watching clouds or shop window displays.’
Separate research by the Moneysupermarket.com website says three-quarters of motorists admit being distracted behind the wheel.
The main distractions include fiddling
with the radio or CD changer (54 per cent), drinking a beverage or
eating a snack (47 per cent for each), making a call or texting on a
hand-held phone (16 per cent for each) and dozing (4 per cent).
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