Shaving, doing your hair, telling off the kids … all in a day’s work for UK drivers, finds IAM RoadSmart

Posted on 14/09/17 |

A poll by the UK’s biggest road safety charity IAM RoadSmart of more than 2,300 visitors to our website has lifted the lid on some of the worst motoring distractions drivers have spotted on the road – it reveals that UK drivers appear to treat the driving seat as an extension of the bathroom mirror with a wide range of personal grooming activities going on behind the wheel.

The three most frequently observed activities are smoking, eating and drinking - all of which have been observed by more than 95% of those surveyed.

But more surprisingly ‘telling off children’ and ‘styling hair’ were also high in the charts, with this being witnessed by 82% and 55% of responders respectively.

Some 63% of those surveyed had seen a driver look at a laptop or tablet screen. Further down the chart, but no less worrying; were those trying to control a pet (seen by 46%) reading a book at the wheel (seen by 3%) and shaving (seen by 24%).

Most worryingly many of these distracting behaviours are being witnessed time and time again on nearly every journey. Of those surveyed a quarter saw someone drinking at the wheel every day and a fifth saw someone eating. One in seven said they had seen people looking at their laptops or tablets every day, and one in ten daily saw parents telling off children whilst driving.

And more than half (57%) said they had been affected by drivers who had been distracted for any of the reasons seen in the survey.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: “We understand that the pressures of modern life mean we cannot always keep our cool, especially when children and pets often don’t understand the concept of ‘concentration.’

“But it is exactly in these situations that a tragedy can occur. Talking to any passengers can wait until there are no other potential problems around. Pets should always be securely transported in their carriers.

“As far as the other bad habits revealed in the survey, these are all things that should be done at either end of the journey – not during it. Otherwise they can be a major distraction to the driver.”

Over 60% of respondents either hadn’t seen or couldn’t recall seeing any campaigns about driving distractions so IAM RoadSmart has created a short film starring ex-Formula 1 test driver and current Aston Martin racer Darren Turner which shows exactly how distracting children, pets and mobile phones can be, even for a professional driver. To watch the video click here:

Added Sarah: “We need to persuade drivers there is no such thing as ‘multitasking’ when it comes to motoring. Driving needs to be the sole activity going on whilst at the wheel. Everything else can wait.”


Notes to editors:

The survey was conducted by IAM RoadSmart of 2,327 people up to 1 September 2017, 75% of which are IAM RoadSmart members.

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IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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