By Andy Sambidge
New research shows that more than a third of drivers admit their concentration levels dip on UAE roads
More than one third of UAE motorists admit to becoming distracted while driving, according to joint research released by global insurer Zurich and RoadSafetyUAE.com.
In a survey of 1,007 UAE drivers, 34 percent of respondents said that their concentration levels dip while driving.
The survey said this was particularly true of young motorists (aged 18 to 24), of whom 43 percent feel that their attention is not always directed on driving.
Despite it being illegal in the UAE, nearly a third (30 percent) of motorists admit to using their phones and reading texts while driving.
Speaking with passengers (44 percent), changing the radio station (40 percent), and adjusting the air conditioning (34 percent) were other major reasons cited by drivers for losing concentration.
The survey also said the skyline of the UAE was enough for eight percent of drivers to become distracted.
Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) said they believe that there is a clear link between losing concentration while driving and being involved in a collision.
Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds at 100km/h means that you are effectively driving blind for 55 metres.
Commenting on the research, Brian Reilly, CEO of Zurich Insurance Middle East, said: "Becoming distracted while driving is a leading cause of accidents on UAE roads. The one in three drivers who fail to focus their full attention on the road are at risk of injuring themselves, their passengers and other motorists.
"Zurich would encourage every car user in the UAE to stow their mobile phone away before setting off on a trip to ensure that concentration is fully directed on the road and other cars."
In 2014, Zurich partnered with RoadSafetyUAE.com to increase public awareness of the causes of poor driving and to encourage a culture of responsibility and safe practice among UAE-based motorists.
Thomas Edelman, founder of RoadSafetyUAE.com, added: "Driving distractions play a role in motorists swerving lanes, driving too close to the vehicle in front, misjudging traffic situations and other leading causes of road accidents.
"It is important for motorists to be consciously aware of the many sources of distraction. Motorists must actively reflect on the distractions that they are most prone to succumb to and then actively combat those distractions. At the same time, we must also be aware of other potentially distracted traffic participants."
Top 10 distractions for UAE drivers:
1. Behaviour of other drivers (59 percent)
2. Passengers speaking to you (44 percent)
3. Changing the radio (40 percent)
4. Adjusting the air conditioning (34 percent)
5. Poorly behaved children (34 percent)
6. Complex road systems (33 percent)
7. Road signs (32 percent)
8. Using a mobile phone (30 percent)
9. Reading maps/sat nav (25 percent)
10. Reaching for objects in the car (25 percent)