In 2018, a shocking report revealed that distracted driving triggering sudden swerving resulted in 438 traffic accidents, 495 injured motorists and 59 fatalities in the UAE. 13% of the 468 traffic related deaths reported were attributed to distracted driving. During this period, a total of 88,619 traffic fines were issued by Dubai Police to motorists who were using their phones while driving.
This dire situation has prompted the formation of the UAE Federal Traffic Council that will be tasked with conducting a campaign on ‘Avoid Distractions While Driving’. The three-month campaign, involving stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, aims to create awareness on the dangers of distracted driving.
Key distractions while driving
Distractions can occur visually, manually, cognitively and auditory.
- Visual Distractions. These are some of the most common distractions and they include anything that takes the driver’s eyes and focus from the road at any given time. Visual distractions can be as innocent as checking the GPS or trying to adjust the dial on the radio or the AC. Some drivers also get visually distracted whenever they notice accidents, putting them at risk of causing another accident.
- Manual Distractions. These occur whenever a driver takes off one or both hands from the steering wheel. Eating, answering phone calls and texting while driving are some of the common manual distractions. Applying makeup while driving is also another form of manual distraction.
- Cognitive Distractions. Distractions which affect your mental ability to focus on the road fall under this category. These may include emotional stress and physical illness as well as side effects of medication such as dizziness that interfere with your driving abilities.
- Auditory Distractions. These are any type of distractions that prevent you from hearing traffic sounds around you while driving and in most cases come in the form of playing loud music. It can also come in the form of having noisy passengers in the car.
How to prevent distractions while driving
You can never underestimate the importance of paying attention on the road. There are many ways that you can prevent distractions while driving and wecashanycar has come up with these 9 tips:
- Avoid using your cellphone while driving. Using a cellphone while driving increases the risk of a car crash. You should therefore avoid using your cell phone unless it is absolutely urgent. Although most people feel hands-free devices are permissible, they can still distract a driver, causing him to miss important audio and visual cues on the road.
- Do not drive when ill or drowsy. Studies have shown that drowsy drivers are four times more likely to cause accidents. If you are feeling unwell, you should pull over and seek assistance instead of trying to drive quickly to your destination.
- Eating while driving. Even though most people consider this a time-saving mechanism, drivers often get distracted when eating. In fact, spillage of food and drinks can completely take a driver’s attention off the road.
- Multi-tasking should be done outside the car. Some people consider driving the perfect time to check off some things on their to-do list. While seemingly time-saving, this is a major distraction as it makes you focus on other things besides the road and fellow motorists and should therefore be avoided at all costs.
- Avoid touching up makeup while driving. No matter how bad you think your makeup looks, you should never touch up while driving. You do not want to be part of this statistic. A 2009 report revealed that nearly half a million of crashes were caused by women touching up their makeup. If you must touch up your lipstick or mascara in the car, you should pull over and park then take your time. This will not only prevent accidents but also produce better results.
- Do not drive while sick or under strong medication. This piece of advice might seem obvious but very many drivers tend to ignore it. You should take public transport or ask someone to drive you. In addition, if you are under strong medication, it is best to stay away from the wheel because this can result in drowsiness which is very distracting and dangerous.
- Set your GPS beforehand. It is very common for drivers to start fidgeting with their GPS once on the road. This distraction takes your eyes off the road, putting you and other motorists at risk. You can avoid this by setting your GPS before embarking on your journey.
- Take necessary precautions when driving with kids. Research shows that driving with kids can be more distracting than using a phone. Many parents dread the daily commute to school because of this. You can minimise distractions when driving your kids by planning your trip ahead of time and giving the kids a form of entertainment to keep them preoccupied during the drive. You should also ensure that the kids are fed ahead of the trip and have used the bathroom beforehand to reduce any discomfort during your journey.
- Avoid rubbernecking when accidents happen. Rubbernecking is the act of turning to take a closer look at accidents on the road. It is distracting because drivers usually slow down at traffic accident sites to get a better view of road carnage while obstructing other drivers and taking off their eyes from the road and fellow motorists. Drivers caught rubbernecking in the UAE are liable to Dh.1000 fine. You can avoid this by being extra cautious when driving along accident sites. Should you feel the need to help accident victims, you must park your car on the roadside before helping out.
Distracted driving is a traffic offence in the UAE and you can be fined Dh.800 and 4 black points for this. Using the phone while driving is treated as a standalone offence attracting Dh.800 and 4 black points as penalties and if safe driving is not motivation enough, you should be wary of these fines. If you have already been slapped with a distracted driving fine , read our blog article on: Get 100% discount on your traffic fines in Dubai to learn how you can take advantage of the ongoing traffic fines discounts in Dubai.
At wecashanycar we want to keep you safe on the road. That’s why we offer you these useful driving tips in our monthly advice column. Choose wecashanycar to sell your used car in the UAE for the trade-in price on the market.