The latest cutting-edge research which uses in car cameras on real-world drivers has found the key to significantly improve safety is for drivers to keep their eyes on the road and avoid visually taxing tasks that take their concentration off the forward roadway.
The single most effective action drivers can take to reduce risks is to put their mobile phone in a cradle. They can also use Bluetooth or hands-free technology, single-button dialling or voice-activated calling so they can keep their eyes on the road ahead.
Top tips for safe driving:
- Never Text: It’s very dangerous and illegal: Texting drivers take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds over a 6-second interval. This means that at 60kph a driver is not watching the road for 75 metres or half the length of the MCG!
- Always keep your eyes on the road: The clear lesson from the latest research is that keeping your eyes on the road is critical in reducing driving risks from mobile phone use. Talking and listening are not too dangerous on mobiles in light traffic and good driving conditions, but taking your eyes off the road to dial or answer is risky.
- Buy, install and use a cradle for your phone: The Australian Road Rules require drivers to place their mobiles in approved cradles affixed to the dashboard so they are looking at the road ahead and not glancing down. Drivers can also use a Bluetooth provided they do not touch their handset. Study the road rules for hands-free mobile use in your State or Territory.
- Use your smartphone’s features: Smartphones provide voice-activated dialling and automatic answering features to reduce the effort of making and receiving a call and allow drivers’ eyes to remain on the road at all times. You can install apps that limit a phone to calling and voice activation. Smart drivers use their handsets’ technology to reduce driving distractions.
- Don’t always answer your mobile: Hands-free mobile phone use in cars is legal in all Australian States and Territories. However, this does not mean it’s appropriate for drivers to use them at all times. Drivers should not make calls in heavy traffic, at intersections or in bad weather or poor road conditions. If a call is unnecessary or you consider it unsafe to answer at the time, don’t answer the call. Let it divert to voicemail or an answering service.