A new study has found that a fifth of motorists have been so distracted when adjusting systems in their car’s cockpit that they have veered out of lane. Of those, 5% lost control of the vehicle, 3% veered off the road and another 3% had an accident.
Privilege Insurance found that among all drivers, a quarter have been distracted while changing a CD or tape, 14% while altering the music volume, 9% while cleaning the windscreen, 9% when adjusting the heating and 1% when using a satellite navigation system.
Spokesman James Gore said: ‘The research findings highlight the extent of the problem of adding more accessories to cars. It is clear that many drivers recognise the dangers of being distracted when driving, but many don’t know how to deal with the danger.
‘We urge drivers – especially those who spend a lot of time in their cars and those with all the latest accessories – to make sure they use any breaks they get to ensure the car’s settings are ready and the conditions comfortable, rather than altering the gadgets while on the move.’
The company claims that 40% of all drivers want manufacturers to limit the amount of in-car gadgets available. And four out of 10 would also avoid using any gadget which they did not see as essential for the smooth running of the vehicle.
The survey also found that answering a mobile phone without a hands-free kit accounted for 5% of total driver distractions.
It claimed that drivers in the north of England were more likely to have had an accident as a result of becoming distracted by new in-car innovations. Those in the south and south-west were least likely to have become distracted.