Keep your eyes on the road!

A new study reveals how millions of accidents occur in the UK because drivers take their eyes off the road

The general reaction from drivers when asked by the other party involved in a collision as to why they’ve just crashed into them tends to be: “Sorry, I didn’t see you.”
According to a new study carried out by Direct Line, this is the main reason why around 28% of all motorists have at some point been involved in an accident on the road – not checking their blind spot correctly and not looking ahead are the two most common reasons drivers use following a collision.
Not looking properly whilst driving is why Direct Line believes around 11 million drivers in the UK have been involved in a collision.
Whilst one recurring issue involves drivers failing to check their blind spot, Direct Line concluded that it was down to individual drivers allowing themselves to be distracted from looking at the road that was the main cause of most accidents.
As part of the survey, Direct Line questioned 2,005 drivers in the UK and found that almost 18% of those had at some point been involved in a shunt with another vehicle – the reason given was that they’d taken their eyes off the road, either because of boredom, or by being distracted.
Of those questioned, a further 10% had been involved in an accident because they hadn’t checked their blind spot.
The survey also discovered that 24% of male drivers had been involved in an accident because they weren’t looking ahead properly, compared to 11% of women drivers.
Direct Line carried out a study to find out what the concentration levels of a driver are whilst behind the wheel. Human-computer interface experts and psychologists measured the length of time drivers spent not focusing on the road.
A group of 100 motorists from the UK were used as dummies and by using special eye-tracking technology, they discovered that motorists spend around 18% of their time behind the wheel not looking at the road – which equates to around every nine seconds a driver is not looking where they’re going!
The study also found that the dangers were more clear-cut when the other party involved was a cyclist or a pedestrian, as opposed to another vehicle.
Direct Line claims that 3 million drivers have had an accident involving cyclists, or pedestrians because they’ve taken their eyes off the road ahead.
This was highlighted in the eye-tracking study – during the test, the drivers failed to spot 22% of the cyclists up ahead despite them being in perfect view.
“Letting our eyes drift away from the road while we drive, or not checking our blind spot before manoeuvring is dangerous at best and potentially fatal at worst,” said the head of automotive technology at Direct Line, Nick Reid.
Mr Reid added that drivers need to think about other road users whilst behind the wheel and that “Sorry, I didn’t see you” is no excuse.
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