Study shows a third of UAE drivers get distracted

34% of drivers admit concentration levels dipped whilst driving.
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Research has revealed that over one third of UAE motorists become distracted whilst driving.

The survey of 1,007 UAE drivers, which was conducted jointly by Zurich and RoadSafetyUAE.com, found that 34 per cent of respondents admitted that their concentration levels dipped whilst behind the wheel.

The behaviour of other road users ranked as the biggest distraction for UAE motorists, with 59 per cent citing it as their number-one concern.

“Becoming distracted while driving is a leading cause of accidents on UAE roads,” commented Brian Reilly, CEO of Zurich Insurance Middle East.

“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,” he added.

Almost half or respondents (47 per cent) believe there to be a clear link between losing concentration at the wheel and being involved in a collision. Indeed, research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds at 100km/h means driving blind for 55m.

In addition to the actions of other road users, the report’s authors point out that drivers’ own behaviour can play a significant role in their becoming distracted.

Despite it being illegal in the UAE, 30 per cent of respondents admitted to using making calls from their phones and even reading text messages whilst driving.

Other hazardous habits that were reported included speaking with passengers (44 per cent), changing the radio station (40 per cent), and adjusting the air conditioning (34 per cent).

However, the Emirates themselves might have to take some responsibility for accidents, with 8 per cent of respondents citing the UAE’s “stunning skyline” as sufficient to cause distraction.

“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,” explained Reilly.

“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,” he said.

Commenting on the results, 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,” he added.

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