Over one third of UAE motorists admit to becoming distracted while driving, according to joint research released today by global insurer Zurich and RoadSafetyUAE.com.
In a survey of 1,007 UAE drivers, 34% of respondents said that their concentration levels dip while driving. This is particularly true of young motorists (those aged 18 to 24), of whom 43% feel that their attention is not always directed on driving.
Nearly half of respondents (47%) 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 meters.
Top 10 distractions for UAE drivers:
1. Behaviour of other drivers (59%)
2. Passengers speaking to you (44%)
3. Changing the radio (40%)
4. Adjusting the air conditioning (34%)
5. Poorly behaved children (34%)
6. Complex road systems (33%)
7. Road signs (32%)
8. Using a mobile phone (30%)
9. Reading maps/sat nav (25%)
10. Reaching for objects in the car (25%)
People’s own behaviour plays a significant role in them losing focus on the road. Despite it being illegal in the UAE, nearly a third (30%) of motorists admit to using their phones and reading texts while driving. Speaking with passengers (44%), changing the radio station (40%), and adjusting the air conditioning (34%) are other major reasons why drivers lose concentration. The stunning skyline of the UAE is also enough for 8% of drivers to become distracted.
Yet it is events outside of the car that disrupt concentration most, with 59% of respondents citing the behaviour of other drivers as the single biggest distraction on UAE roads. This is a particular distraction for those aged over 40 (71%) and for Western drivers (78%).
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. People are limited in the amount of information they can process at any one time so the prevalent use of mobile phones by drivers, which requires eyes to be taken off the road and hands to be removed from the wheel, is troubling. 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: “Raising awareness of driving distractions is important to improve the level of road safety in the UAE, and hence we are very excited to work with Zurich on this important initiative. 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.”
According to the research, drivers favour a range of methods to stay focused on the roads, including listening to the radio (33%) and caffeinated drinks (17%), while speed cameras (29%) and police presence (21%) also aid concentration. The single biggest factor in being able to concentrate, however, was being alone while driving (51%).
The survey also revealed that Arab Expats gets distracted the most (40%) followed by Westerners (36%), Asians (26%) and Emiratis (19%). By age group, youth (18 to 24) in the UAE is the most distracted while driving (38%).
Top 5 tips to keep focused while driving in the UAE
- Put your mobile phone away
- Don’t drive while you are tired
- Take regular breaks on longer trips
- Ask passengers to respect your role as driver
- Do not trust other drivers – always expect the worst
What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips for making UAE roads safer? Let us know in the comments!